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Nutricosmetics makers must be careful with health claims

By Guy Montague-Jones , 12-Jun-2009

New European legislation could present makers of beauty foods, beverages and supplements with regulatory headaches unless they are careful with their claims.

The European Nutrition & Health Claims Regulation, which comes into full force next year, tightens the noose around vague and unsubstantiated health claims.

By sporting strong health claims about beauty benefits, nutricosmetics manufacturers could find themselves ensnared by this new legislation.

 

Health claim trap

 

Research and consultancy firm New Nutrition Business recently suggested that Daniels Group, owners of the Covent Garden soup brand, could hit such a regulatory barrier over the strong health claims surrounding its recently launched JU range of beauty juice drinks.

Each product carries the general claim: “JU is made from ingredients known to have natural health benefits. Each of our drinks contains carefully selected fruits, juices and superfoods, which will contribute to your overall health and vitality. After all, beauty starts from within.”

Making these health claims would expose the products to the Nutrition & Health Claims Legislation and so far the Regulation has taken few prisoners.

New Nutrition Business said: “Given the well-documented stringency with which EFSA is evaluating the evidence for claims, it is hard to see all, or even any of those statements Daniels Group is making surviving full implementation of the Regulation next year.”

Frost & Sullivan analyst Deborah Cross said the Nutrition and Health Claims legislation has thrown up much controversy and been cause of much confusion.

Careful wording

Nutricosmetics makers would be advised to avoid it, and Cross told Cosmetics Design they should not be affected by the Regulation so long as they are careful about the wording of their claims.

Fellow Frost & Sullivan analyst Dr Leonidas Dokos said cosmetics companies already face a similar problem with cosmeceuticals, which sit on the boundary between cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

 

He said cosmetics companies marketing cosmeceuticals have been careful with their claims to avoid exposure to drug legislation and they should be able to do the same with nutricosmetics.

 

So long as health claims are avoided and nutricosmetics makers stick to beauty claims, they can circumnavigate the Nutrition & Health Claims Legislation.

 

In the EU, nutricosmetics fall under the category of nutritional supplements, despite being intended for use as beauty products. As such and because of their comparative youth, nutricosmetics without health claims still have regulatory hurdles to jump through.

 

They are up against the Novel Foods Regulation, which requires any food or ingredient not commonly consumed in the EU prior to May 1997 to undergo safety assessment before it can be sold across the EU’s 27-member bloc. This can be a long-winded process and has been much criticized by industry for stalling innovation.

 

Dr Leonidas Dokos suggested that nutricosmetics may be taken care of better in an amendment to the Cosmetics Directive. He said an approach to safety along the lines of the Adverse Effects Bill in the US could be appropriate, whereby companies have to notify the regulator when a complaint is received.

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