European Approved Health and Nutritional Claims

All this to define food.

No wonder so many new products keep showing up.

No surprise about the many possible certification labels for food.

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Two Regulations Just To Explain Food Claims Used On Product Labels

How much of a bigger share from the Universe Of Food could we get if we talked more about the benefits of what it is we’re trying to regulate.

The most direct path to an intended outcome is to regulate for what you want. Seems like we have too many competing interests to agree on a simple, true story.

Food has been pretty cool for a long time now. We’re starting to realize just how important it really is. If they’re going through this much trouble in Europe, no wonder, clean, simple food is catching on and the packaged goods market is scrambling to keep up.

Thanks to  Richard A.H.G. De Klerk International Senior Account Manager, Nutrition/Pharma, Asia & Europe for this report.

European Commission published two regulations just to explain and determine approved claims to be used in food products labels, and one regulation regarding the consumer protection and detailed information about the label content. The regulations are better described below:

This isn’t meant to put anyone to sleep.It’s a sign that food and nutrition are becoming so important that multiple interests are keenly aware of how much power consumers are beginning to exert when it comes to food choices. An educated consumer is a healthy consumer. We don’t need a tracker to know where that  leads.

Didn’t Amazon just buy Whole Foods?

1. Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods:

Nutritional Claim Conditions Applying

LOW ENERGY A claim that a food is low in energy, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product does not contain more than 40 kcal (170 kJ)/100 g for solids or more than 20 kcal (80 kJ)/100 ml for liquids. For table-top sweeteners the limit of 4 kcal (17 kJ)/portion, with equivalent sweetening properties to 6 g of sucrose (approximately one teaspoon of sucrose), applies.

ENERGY-REDUCED A claim that a food is energy-reduced, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the energy value is reduced by at least 30 %, with an indication of the characteristic(s) which make(s) the food reduced in its total energy value.

ENERGY-FREE A claim that a food is energy-free, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product does not contain more than 4 kcal (17 kJ)/100 ml. For table-top sweeteners the limit of 0,4 kcal (1,7 kJ)/portion, with equivalent sweetening properties to 6 g of sucrose (approximately one teaspoon of sucrose), applies.

SOURCE OF (NAME OF VITAMIN/S) AND/OR (NAME OF MINERAL/S) A claim that a food is a source of vitamins and/or minerals, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product contains at least a significant amount as defined in the Annex to Directive 90/496/EEC or an amount provided for by derogations granted according to Article 7 of Regulation (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on the addition of vitamins and minerals and of certain other substances to foods (1).

HIGH (NAME OF VITAMIN/S) AND/OR (NAME OF MINERAL/S) A claim that a food is high in vitamins and/or minerals, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product contains at least twice the value of ‘source of (NAME OF VITAMIN/S) and/or (NAME OF MINERAL/S)’.

CONTAINS (NAME OF THE NUTRIENT OR OTHER SUBSTANCE) A claim that a food contains a nutrient or another substance, for which specific conditions are not laid down in this Regulation, or any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product complies with all the applicable provisions of this Regulation, and in particular Article 5. For vitamins and minerals the conditions of the claim ‘source of’ shall apply.

INCREASED (NAME OF THE NUTRIENT) A claim stating that the content in one or more nutrients, other than vitamins and minerals, has been increased, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product meets the conditions for the claim ‘source of’ and the increase in content is at least 30 % compared to a similar product.

REDUCED (NAME OF THE NUTRIENT) A claim stating that the content in one or more nutrients has been reduced, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the reduction in content is at least 30 % compared to a similar product, except for micronutrients where a 10 % difference in the reference values as set in Council Directive 90/496/EEC shall be acceptable and for sodium, or the equivalent value for salt, where a 25 % difference shall be acceptable.

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The Story Behind The Why We Buy

Judges rule that excerpts from scientific/medical journal articles

can be used in advertising and promotional materials,

protected by the First Amendment and New York state law.

This sets a significant precedent.

A federal appeals court found that opinions about scientific studies,

at least when two private parties are involved in cases involving the Lanham Act,

is protected free speech.

If you say that a food is healthy and may help protect against heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis,

your words have magically changed that food into a drug.

And, guess what, that’s illegal.

Now you’ve created an illegal drug and that’s a crime

Free Speech Win For Scientific Conclusions in Federal Court

So why after all these years have we not shared all that great research about how food and nutrition can impact public health, access to food and opportunity as well as workforce development?  Where are we today? Take a look at the disruption in our food sector. Amazon buying Whole Foods and thousands of small scale rural and urban growers building local food systems.

From Alliance for Natural Health July 9, 2013

 A three-judge panel of the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has ruled unanimously that researchers cannot be sued for stating the scientific conclusions made in journal articles about matters of scientific debate.

In this case, the manufacturer of a lung surfactant—a detergent-like agent that reduces the surface tension of the liquid film covering the inner lining of the lung’s small air sacs (alveoli) to help keep lungs from collapsing and help patients breathe better—brought a false advertising suit against a competitor.

The lawsuit alleged that the competitor paid for research designed to show that the competitor’s product was superior; that the findings were false and deceptive; and that the competitor disseminated those findings through an article published in a scientific journal and through promotional material citing the article’s conclusions.

The plaintiff didn’t claim that the competitor distorted the article’s findings, but that the findings themselves were inaccurate, and by publishing them, the plaintiffs suffered damage.

The main question was whether the defendant’s statements about the study were false and misleading under the Lanham Act, which is the primary federal trademark law in the US (the court also looked at this under NY state law).

They didn’t consider the question of whether the study findings themselves were false—only whether their statements about the study were false or misleading. The panel ruled against the plaintiff and found that the defendant did not misrepresent the research findings, and ruled the defendant’s statements to be scientific “opinion,” not fact, and therefore protected speech under the First Amendment.

This sets a significant precedent. A federal appeals court found that opinions about scientific studies, at least when two private parties are involved in cases involving the Lanham Act, is protected free speech.

Whether this ruling can be applied against the Federal Trade Commission’s recent actions toward supplement makers for making alleged “false and misleading claims” by citing scientific studies remains to be seen, as the laws involved are different. You may recall the FTC’s lawsuits against companies such as POM Wonderful for false advertising, even though POM cited scientific articles and studies.

Increasingly, the FTC appears to be applying the FDA’s pharmaceutical approach toward all health claims, including those for food or supplements, via consent decrees, as we discussed last year. These consent decrees are requiring manufacturers to obtain the FDA’s approval of any health claims prior to making them in advertising, and are insisting on a standard of double random controlled studies. In effect, the FTC seems to be doing what the FDA itself would like to do but is barred from doing. It seems to be an end-run around FDA law.

Given this background of increasing government censorship of science, this latest court ruling is very welcome. Companies cannot afford the millions of dollars needed to take a natural, non-patentable product through the FDA drug approval process in order to establish health claims. However, there is a lot of valid scientific literature explaining benefits of natural products, and companies should be able to use it for advertising purposes to inform the public without threat of fines or even jail.

This was the logic behind our push for Free Speech About Science (FSAS). A bill to reintroduce the Free Speech About Science Act is currently being redrafted. We will keep you posted as things. A resurrection is long overdue.

→  Read full article

Is The FDA Losing It’s Mind?

Here’s an example from recent history that speaks to how far certain interests will go to separate us from our food. Before any science came along to validate the idea that food is the key driver to human health and development.

Why is it that after the scientific validation for nutrition, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, as the building blocks for all life, and that they comprise our  food, why wouldn’t that story be worth shouting from the rooftops?

What if the foods we all eat got to tell it’s nutritional bona fides as medicine? Or, at the very least, beneficial and highly recommended for health and wellness. Thanks to CathyBurt at TimberJay.com for the alert on the FDA losing it’s mind.

The FDA Wants To Make Cherries, Walnuts Into Illegal Drugs

The FDA has sent a warning letter to the president and CEO of Diamond Foods stating that the firm’s packages of shelled walnuts are “in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act”. Why? Because Diamond Foods dared to list some of the health benefits of walnuts on its website. Health benefits which have been scientifically researched and proven. The FDA says that the walnuts are being “promoted for conditions that cause them to be drugs because these products are intended for use in the prevention, mitigation and treatment of disease”.

In other words, if you say that a food is healthy and may help protect against heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis, your words have magically changed that food into a drug. And, guess what, that’s illegal. Now you’ve created an illegal drug and that’s a crime

Common sense alone should tell you that walnuts, cherries, pomegranates and green tea are foods, not drugs.

Even though potato chips are mostly a deep fried snack food, with no scientifically proven health benefits, the FDA has no problem with FritoLay listing on its website some of what they claim are the health benefits of potato chips. We all know that carbohydrates fried in fat and covered with salt are just not healthy to eat. Plus they definitely won’t give you the GMO Free certification to go along with all their other nutritional needs products. Can anyone say “Gluten Free” ?

This certainly seems like a FDA double standard and it is just not acceptable for a government agency to disregard its own mission of educating the public and promoting health.

The Free Speech about Science Act (HR 4913)  was a bipartisan bill introduced into the House of Representatives on March 23, 2010. This legislation protects basic free speech rights, ends censorship of science and enables the natural foods and health products community to share peer-reviewed scientific findings with the public. The bill had the potential to educate the public about the real science behind natural health. This would have enabled the public to have access to credible information that they can use to make wise dietary choices. It died. It was reintroduced and it died again.

→  Read full article

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The Science Based Arms Race For The Consumer’s Trust

Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure
Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure
Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure
Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure

Ask Your Doctor If Good Nutrition Is Right For You

Consumer Confusion Over Supplements Calls For Clarity

When the natural products industry began to mature and started using science based claims for their ingredients, formulations and products, they gave up a very big advantage they had.

That advantage was in the obvious connection between good food and good health. Food was cool back in 431 BC when Hippocrates allegedly admonished us to make food our medicine and medicine our food. This food as medicine connection has been deeply rooted throughout human history. Food and nutrition were the at the root so to speak, of ‘natural’ products. This was somewhat of a backlash against large scale processed foods that started taking on forms that were unrecognizable, yet immensely compelling from the standpoint of convenience and taste.

As the market grew, it became necessary to address convenience, efficacy and safety factors. Distinguishing natural remedies as ‘just as good as’ or ‘better’ than pharmaceuticals, the need for scientific validation for the claims to good health became more important than the common sense experiences traditionally associated or attributed to their use.

The results have been mixed. We have a treasure trove of existing and ongoing science supporting food as medicine. Yet we can’t say so for fear of running afoul of some Federal regulation or monopolistic protection.

Drug companies buy up nearly every inch of ad space in scientific journals, so the argument persists that there’s little scientific basis for natural product claims. If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it . . .

We have good manufacturing practices and we have dozens of third party certification organizations. The message to the consumer is that there must be a problem with food standards somewhere.

In the meantime, we’ve seen a proliferation of new ingredients, formulations and products clamoring for shelf space. Consumers have never had so many choices, yet confusion has never been greater.

They don’t understand the reason behind pricing for the same item from different manufacturers. The whole shopping experience can be overwhelming and intimidating.

Most of this confusion could have been avoided. If the industry had led with nature as the gold standard, we could have more easily validated our claims to efficacy and safety. Instead of copying big pharma’s model, we could have copied nature’s.

Many pharmaceuticals were derived from plants from nature. We could have framed big phama as copying  nature and following those of us with a food and nutrition based approach to health instead of playing the never-catch-up with their marketing and budgets game. .

Now we have an arms race to invent and patent more and more products designed for a specific effects. We pile on tons of scientific evidence and expect consumers to feel secure in their purchases.

We can’t say ‘ask your doctor’ if product ‘X’ is right for you because there are too few doctors who know what to answer. Based on the amount of nutrition education they were exposed to in medical school, most doctors look like a deer in the headlights when a patient asks a nutritional question.

It’s no wonder we’re in such a sorry state of health. Don’t despair. It’s not as difficult as it seems. Self education is the first step to understanding how food and nutrition are essential to optimal health. After all, they don’t call them “vitamins” for nothing.

Fortunately, consumer awareness about the medicinal benefits of knowing about food and how to best use it for our optimal health, is a secret that’s no longer so secret. Despite attempts to separate us from food’s full story, consumers are causing a major upheaval in the food and consumer packaged goods sector. This is good news for food and nutritional supplement manufacturers. There’s a pretty compelling story to tell about their products. The more the good food story is told and circulated, the faster new shelf space will appear. In the stores, on the web and ultimately on consumers pantry shelves.

 

Get The Latest Nutrition News Online All Year Long

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Our readers are self aware and focused on full, vital and abundant lives.

They realize the importance their health has for a rich and rewarding life.

They pay attention to what works.

They make connections between actions and results.

 

For 41 years our readers, people just like you, have turned to  Nutrition News for advertising free, easy to understand information about healthy foods and nutritional supplements.

We review, edit and  publish compelling content about nutritional research and trends in optimal health.

We showcase, share and support health outreach initiatives of all kinds.

The inquiry into optimal health is naturally engaging.

We make healthy behaviors easy and fun.

 

 

 

Your Satisfaction Guaranteed!

Here's How:

We promise to capture your attention.

If you're not paying attention, we've failed you.

 

 

After reading your first report,

If you don’t love it . . .

Or feel you don’t have

Information and tools

To achieve optimal health,

Just let us know within 30 days.

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No questions asked.

You keep the Report.

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