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Transparency For Consumers Or Barrier To Innovation?

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Germany, September 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

- Either way, the Regulation on Nutrition and Health Claims is sure to bring lots of change

Is that healthy? Does it strengthen the immune system? Until recently, the question of what additional health value foods offer was mostly answered by producers themselves and labelled on the packaging. "Strengthens intestinal flora," "strengthens the heart and circulation," and "lowers cholesterol" are just some of the claims. As proof, manufacturers were to demonstrate the benefit in a self-conducted study. Since 2006, however, the Regulation on Nutrition and Health Claims has been in place. It lays down harmonised rules across the European Union for the use of such claims. The regulation is also a major topic for many exhibitors at the Food Ingredients Europe (Fi Europe) fair taking place from the 19 th to the 21 st of September in Frankfurt am Main. Businesses in food ingredients and packaging are closely collaborating here to present solutions that comply with the new regulation and also enhance both the appearance and the content of the product.

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On its website, the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection states that the consumer should be able to rely on "claims that are true and accurate, and supported by scientific data". Peter Loosen, managing director of the Bund für Lebensmittelrecht und Lebensmittelkunde e.V. (BLL), elaborates, "This means that basically all claims relating to the health benefits of ingredients are prohibited, with the exception of those that have been expressly approved." It took until May 2012 to prepare this list, which authorises a total of 222 claims. "That surprised the industry," says Loosen. "We had anticipated a far greater number and, above all, in a broader spectrum." The authorised claims mainly only relate to vitamins and minerals. Omitted areas include fibre or functional ingredients, such as probiotics or glucosamine, which is generally considered to strengthen the joints. Loosen states, "In the meantime, six additional claims have been authorised; a seventh is pending, and a total of six claims relating to caffeine are still being discussed, however, will apparently be added to the lists soon."

Risk or opportunity?

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