Understanding the impact of European Regulation on the substantiation and use of claims on food and drinks: Design of the REDICLAIM project and initial results

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The European Regulation on nutrition and health claims on foods (Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation: European Commission No. 1924/2006) establishes, for the first time, a common framework for the regulation of such claims across the European Union (EU). The opportunities for product innovation arising from this new legislation combined with protection of consumer interest in respect of controlling misleading advertising, while at the same time promoting public health, are noteworthy. But such opportunities need to be evaluated against the burden on industry of the need to undertake significant research activity into these claims and to present a scientific substantiation to satisfy the procedure for approval. Whether this legislation is driving product innovation and the development of healthy and nutritional food or whether it is a barrier to such developments is an area in need of investigation. The EU-funded project REDICLAIM is currently considering these issues and the impact of the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation especially in relation to ‘reduction of disease risk’ claims. This article establishes the issues surrounding the common framework of health legislation and sets out the work programme for REDICLAIM.

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