New EU Guidance on Health Claims

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Two recent developments of importance for the interpretation of the new list of permitted health claims in the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (Regulation 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods, "the Regulation") have just been adopted. The first one, on which only certain Member States have agreed, deals with how the so-called “flexibility” principle in the wording of health claims should be applied. The second one, on which all Member States have agreed and which entered into force today, sheds light on the scope of application of Article 10 of the Regulation (specific conditions for health claims).

General Principles on Flexibility of Wording for Health Claims -

Recital 9 in the preamble to the Regulation envisages that, where the wording of a claim has the same meaning for consumers as that of a permitted health claim because it demonstrates the same relationship that exists between a food category, a food or one of its constituents and health, that claim should be subject to the same conditions of use indicated for the permitted health claims.

In December 2012, 17 Member States' experts agreed on a series of general principles on flexibility of wording for health claims ("General Principles"). The Member States are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and United Kingdom.

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