What are health claims and how are they assessed?

What are health claims and how are they assessed?


Hello, I am Juliane I am working in the
Nutrition unit of EFSA and I am here to explain
how health claims are assessed. So what is a health claim?
A health claim is any statement on labels that suggest a food
brings a health benefit, such as boosting your immune
system or reducing body weight. Since 2006 we have an
EU-wide regulation in place which requires that any
health claim made on food should be scientifically justified
in order to protect consumers from inaccurate or
misleading information. The role of EFSA, and in
particular of its scientific Panel on Nutrition, Dietetic
Products and Allergies, is to review the science
behind all these claims. So how does EFSA perform this task?
In assessing each claim, EFSA’s nutrition experts
focus on three main criteria. The first criteria is the food, or
food ingredient, properly defined for the claimed effect? For example, a claim on weight
reduction might be proposed for all dairy foods like yoghurt,
milk and cheese products. This food category would not be sufficiently defined for
such a claim as there are so many different
types of dairy products on the market which may
have different nutritional compositions like full-fat,
low-fat, sugared or not, which could have
different effects on body weight depending
on their composition. But yoghurts with a
specific composition could be sufficiently characterised. The second criteria
is: is the claimed effect properly defined? For example a claim
stating that food X improves your body shape
is too unspecific for scientific evaluation as
you would not know what to look at, but the claim
stating that a food helps to reduce your
body weight, this would be sufficiently defined because
bodyweight can be measured. If criteria one and two are met then the experts look at
all the data available to see whether there is
sufficient evidence to substantiate the claim. In this context, human intervention
studies are crucial for the evaluation of
whether the claim can be scientifically proven,
but also other studies can provide useful
supportive evidence. For example, on how
this could work. The studies need to address
the defined food. In our case, it would
be the yoghurts with the defined composition,
and the right outcome, which would be
in our case weight reduction. At the end the
panel looks at the number of studies in favour
and not in favour for the claim – also taking into account
the quality of the studies and the plausibility of the claim
– and then weighs the overall evidence to
come to a conclusion. The conclusion can be positive, which means that
the panel is convinced that there is sufficient
evidence to substantiate the claim – or negative,
which could mean that there is either some
– but not convincing – evidence, or there
is only poor evidence: for example, no human study
at all to prove the effect. On the basis of EFSA’s
scientific work, the European Commission
and Member States decide on whether or not
to authorise a claim.

4 Replies to “What are health claims and how are they assessed?

  1. Интересное видео! мне понравилось, умничка!) Вообще уважаю труд тех кто делает видео, и ведет свои каналы. Я сама веду канал и знаю, как это непросто – записывать ролики.
    Так держать!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *