Claims on Botanicals – quick update
In an event in Brussels early in November, Mr. Andriukaitis (EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety) acknowledged that the current regulatory system for botanicalsis unfit for its purpose and promised to launch a public consultation before the end of the year. This consultation will support the Commission with making a comprehensive decision on the 2,000 pending botanical health claims. It will be done in a 12-week closed-question public consultation and a 8-week online survey for member states, stakeholders, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
a&r comments: Since the Commission suspended the evaluation of health claims on foods under the Nutritional and Health Claims Regulation for botanicals in 2010, these may still be used on the basis of the transitional provisions (on-hold claims). Since then, claims on botanicals have been on “stand-by”. Discrepancies between proof of efficacy by EFSA (which requires clinical trials) and evidence needed for Traditional Herbal Medicines (THM) (which requires “traditional use” as evidence), as well as different rulings in the different members states classifying products as food or medicines on a case-by-case basis have led to confusion and disparities between countries. It looks like we can finally expect a solution on this longstanding issue by 2020, before the end of the Commissioner’s mandate.