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Health claims: towards a specific evaluation on claims on botanicals taking into account their traditional use?

More than 2000 health claims on botanicals are currently on hold, waiting for a decision about their evaluation process. After intense discussion, the European Commission has recently published an evaluation of the Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006, and notably on health claims related to plants.

The Commission notes that the objectives pursued by the Claims Regulation are still relevant and correspond to recognized needs. However, the Commission also notes that the absence of a final decision on health claims on plants and their preparation in foods has prevented the full achievement of consumer-related objective. Interestingly, this document recognizes that the Claim Regulation does not take into account the specific situation of plants and/or their preparations, which have a long traditional history of use. The commission recognizes that it could be appropriate to explore the notion of ‘traditional use’ in the efficacy assessment of health claims made on plants and their preparations and that there are merits for further studying the potential EU harmonisation of the field of plants, including the safety aspect.

However, to date, there is no deadline and decision about the evaluation process of all pending claims on botanicals. Even if this document opens the possibility to have a specific evaluation of claims on botanicals, taking into account their traditional use, it can be assumed that the current situation may still last for several years.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION. COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT, EVALUATION of the Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods with regard to nutrient profiles and health claims made on plants and their preparations and of the general regulatory framework for their use in foods (20 May 2020)