Simple solution for claims and botanicals

  • Traditional health claims for botanicals and other food products should remain possible.
  • Complicated new legislation for botanicals is not needed.
  • Restrictions on botanicals other than those based on safety are undesirable.

43 signatories supported this solution

NPN, the Dutch trade association for dietary supplements, expressed her simple solution for claims and botanicals to the European Commission. You can read the letter regarding Evaluation and Fitness Check of Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation here. On the 19th of October 2016, NPN has informed the Commission that this solution is also supported by 43 companies and organizations.

A detailed substantiation of the NPN proposition can be found in the Position Paper Solving the current different legal treatment of health claims and medical claims based on traditional use.

What is going on?

Health claims based on well-established traditional use are under threat to disappear forever.  Under the current health claims legislation, evidence of “traditional use” is not qualified as acceptable. To the contrary, “traditional use” is accepted as a basis for medicinal claims for medicines. This leads to unequal treatment of claims. In 2010, the European Commission decided that this problem must be evaluated in the context of traditional claims on “botanicals” and placed the claims for botanicals ‘on hold’. 

So far, evaluation and reflection by the Commission, Member States and stakeholders didn’t result in a clear outcome. Toward the second half of 2016, the Commission will launch a public consultation. The results will be used to decide on the acceptability of evidence based on traditional use, especially with regard to substantiating health claims on botanicals. 


What do we aim for?

  1. Traditional use is taken into account in the evaluation of health claims. In this way knowledge on long-term use is retained for use in commercial communication.
  2. Concerns about the safety of botanicals must be dealt with by using the appropriate existing European legislation. New European legislation on the use of botanicals in or as foods is not needed. 
    Application of the existing harmonized safety procedures will have a minimum impact on the food industry. It  leads by itself to a gradual harmonization of botanicals and this way takes into account the diversity of the market situation in various Members States.

This proposal takes into consideration “traditional use” and is simple and robust. The use of current safety procedures provides a sufficient level of safety for consumers and leads to European harmonization on the use of botanicals in food supplements in a gradual and therefore feasible way.

NPN is the Dutch trade association for companies active in the market for food supplements. NPN is committed to ensure that consumers have choice of safe, effective food supplements with adequate information. NPN advocates a healthy business climate and promotes companies to take responsibility. NPN supports companies with quality programs, self-regulation and many other initiatives.

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