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Exploitation of the traditional evidence for botanical health claims on foodstuffs in Europe

European Union

Jan 24, 2022

In the European Union, health claims on foods are considered as voluntary food labelling information. While health claims for nutrients and specific bioactive ingredients were subject to strict scientific evaluation, the health claims for botanicals have regulatory status ‘pending evaluation’. They are commonly used on the market, although there is no consensus on the strength of the evidence needed for their support. In the EU the evidence regarding traditional use is sufficient for traditional herbal medicines. Consequently, we investigated the approach of using such evidence to support botanical health claims. The study was conducted on ten commonly used botanicals in Europe. Using data on previously identified relevant health effects and the wording used for authorised health claims, the possible wordings for botanical health claims were constructed. The study results support further discussions and policy options about the use of botanical health claims.

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