ANH urges “final push” to block controversial claims legislation

Campaign group Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-Intl) has warned that the controversial Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation risks being green-lighted by MEPs “simply because they want to see the back of it”.

ANH-Intl has issued a position paper in a late bit to block the European Commission’s widely criticised health claims proposal.

Commenting, Robert Verkerk PhD, executive and scientific director of ANH-Intl said: “MEPs such as Marian Harkin have expressed clearly that the health claims Regulation won’t have the effects originally intended when the Parliament first approved the Regulation back in 2006. It has been taken off-course by a range of interests, and the complexities of trying to apply a one-size-fits-all scientific approach to the complex, changing and inevitably incomplete science of nutrition.”

“We have clearly set out the problems—as well as the solutions—in our position paper, released today. We believe it would be deeply irresponsible of MEPs to vote through the proposed list of permitted claims under the assumption that the problems can be fixed after the list has been implemented. The passage of the list will make all unauthorised general claims illegal within 6 months. The histories of both the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority tells us that neither are at all likely to change their approach. If MEPs want to create a fair and proportionate Regulation, as originally intended, they have no alternative but to support the objection and a veto of the proposed list.”

ANH-Intl says its lobbying of MEPs over the past few weeks has shown that some MEPs are “alive to the problems associated with the Regulation and its implementation”.  However, it fears that many have become frustrated with the fact that the authorised list of general function claims has not yet been passed and may vote the regulation through to avoid further delays and controversy”

Adam Smith, science and communications officer for ANH-Intl who has been at the forefront of ANH-Intl’s lobbying efforts in Brussels, indicated, “Most MEPs with whom we’ve spoken seem to understand that there are a rash of problems with the Regulation, and in particular over EFSA’s methods of assessment of health claims. But they now seem to be fed up with it and many seem to We feel they would be doing their constituencies a disservice if they just rubber-stamp such a problematic piece of European law in its current form. More appropriate implementation of the Regulation would have great potential to help deal with the major underlying health problems in European society, which are linked to inappropriate diets and nutrient intake.”

• You download the ANH-Intl position paper here.