Dairy Reporter

By Shane Starling, 27-Aug-2010

Hundreds of proposed botanical-health relationships ranging from antioxidant activity to skin health to immunity to gut health will almost certainly be rejected if the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) holds to its current methodologies, according to an EU herbal group.

Patrick Coppens, the secretary general of the European Botanical Forum, said it was unlikely any herbs in line for assessment in the third batch of article 13.1 claims, would win positive opinions. 

“If EFSA continues to ignore the existing consensus on the traditional effects of these botanicals, we expect not a single one of these plants to survive the claims process,” Coppens said.

A sneak preview obtained by NutraIngredients of 100s of herbs that have been processed by EFSA’s health claims panel but not yet published, indicates an exhaustive list has been assessed including cranberry, lutein/zeaxanthin, green and black tea, Echinacea, sea buckthorn, rosehip, ginkgo, rosehip, hibiscus, arnica and eucalyptus. 

The prebiotic industry will also be holding its breath as chicory, oligosaccharides, isomalto-oligosaccharides and polysaccharides have all had their dossiers assessed by EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA). 

“The approach EFSA has adopted is not appropriate for botanicals,” Coppens added.

“The kind of studies requested are not even available for traditional medicinal products. We trust the Commission and the Member States acknowledge this and continue to seek solutions for this valuable category of health products.”

An EFSA spokesperson said the third batch of opinions would be published at the end of September or beginning of September.

Other herbal health claims the NDA has dealt with include green coffee, guarana, blueberry extracts, mangosteen, schisandra, marjolaine feuille, grape seed extracts and broccoli extracts. Typically, the claims are antioxidant related.