Changes in the epidemiological profile in Western countries during the last three decades have shown an increasing trend in the development of non-transmissible chronic diseases in the adult population. Nutrition-related lifestyles have been identified as one of the main risk factors for the onset of such diseases. The reaction of some countries1, pioneered by Japan2 in the early eighties, has focused on the role of nutrition for the prevention of such diseases, as the rising health care costs derived from their treatment is becoming unsustainable.
Within this framework, health care professionals (hereinafter, “HCPs”) are increasingly informed about the nutritional and physiological benefits of some foodstuffs, both when reducing a risk factor of developing a disease or coadjuvating to such end with a positive health effect on the bodily functions. Doctors themselves, sometimes moved by their deontological obligations, sometimes by other considerations, will disseminate this information to their peers, the scientific community and the general public.
Regulation 1924/2006 (hereinafter, the “HCR”)3 foresaw the use of references to recommendations and endorsements of food products by HCPs and their associations in communications intended to consumers. However, it remained silent as to the legal fate of communications addressed by food business operators to HCPs and did not address the status of other types of communications from HCPs to consumers.
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