N° 13 | June 2007

Where does the new EU Regulation on claims leave fruit & vegetables promotion?

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Editorial

Given the current debate on obesity and the role that fruit and vegetables can have in any serious solution to address this epidemic, it seems more than reasonable that the new Regulation on Nutrition and Health Claims should allow the fruit and vegetable sector, along with public authorities, to continue promoting without restriction the unique nutritional health benefits of consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables.

However, on what refers to the sector’s freedom to do this, the Regulation is very unclear and leaves many open queries on what the final outcome will be: Will fresh fruit and vegetables finally be exempted from nutrient profiles, as requested by the sector? This would free them from having to comply with the profiles in order to make a nutrient claim. Will the sector manage to put together a list of health claims under article 13 and have them approved by EFSA? These could then be automatically used by the sector without further authorisation needed.

The Regulation at least gives clarity on what a claim is, defining it as “any message or representation (…) including pictorial, graphic or symbolic representation, in any form, which states, suggests or implies that a food has particular characteristics”. Will this finally protect fresh fruit and vegetables from the use (rather abuse) of the positive image of these products by other processed foods? A positive point to be further explored.

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