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Brussels, 5 December 2011

Statement by Commissioner John Dalli: Another step forward: more accuracy on health claims on food

Today, in a meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, Member States supported the European Commission's draft Regulation to adopt a list of permitted health claims for use on food.

Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli, made the following statement:

"I welcome today's important decision. Consumers have the right to accurate and reliable information on food labels to help them make healthier choices. When it comes to health claims, ensuring that they are truthful and accurate is of particular importance. This measure, once endorsed by the European Parliament and the Council, will help national authorities to ensure a high level of consumer protection."

Consumers can expect not to be misled by unsubstantiated, exaggerated or untruthful claims. Permitted claims have undergone a rigorous scientific assessment and are now more precise about health benefits. But business operators have some flexibility in communicating their health claims to aid understanding.

Commissioner Dalli concluded: "I would like to recall that consumer protection is the main objective of the nutrition and health claims Regulation. Consumers tend to over-estimate the value of food products on which claims are made. We now have the tools to clean up the market from those health claims attributing unsubstantiated and misleading health benefits to products.

Misleading claims are also unfair competition, disadvantaging the majority of food business operators who try to ensure consumers have the correct information on which to make informed choice. This measure will make for better clarity, with harmonised rules throughout the EU".

See also MEMO/11/868

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