European Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on Nutrition and Health Claims

The European (EU) Regulation on Nutrition and Health Claims of 2006 provides a common regulation, allowing health claims to be made on foods in a uniform manner throughout the member states of the EU. When introduced, the European Commission stated that the main objectives were to:

A key aim of this Regulation is to ensure that any health claim made on a food label in the EU is clear and substantiated by scientific evidence and useful to the consumer in choosing a healthy diet. The Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is tasked with verifying the scientific substantiation of the claims submitted by companies for authorisation in the EU. EFSA's opinions are in turn used by the European Commission and Member States to decide whether to authorise the claims.

Reduction of disease risk claims

A "reduction of disease risk" claim is legally defined as any health claim that states, suggests or implies that the consumption of a food category, a food or one of its constituents significantly reduces a risk factor in the development of a human disease. Such a claim is genuinely different from the medicinal claim to prevent a disease. The most important difference is that the concept of reduction of disease risk takes into account the complexity and multifactorial basis of most diseases as well as the complexity of the diet itself. The concept of foods reducing risk factor(s) in the development of human disease may lead to the development of innovative functional foods.

Functional foods

Functional foods are those that if consumed on a regular basis, may help to reduce the risk of the development of certain human disease(s). Reduction of disease risk claims made on functional foods must be scientifically substantiated and authorised in accordance with the EU regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. The ability to use these claims provides the food industry with the possibility of developing products which are innovative, competitive and which provide added benefit for consumers.

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