New health food restrictions in Europe

Stephen Beard Nov 2, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: Food labeling has become a pretty big issue in this country, with obesity rates what they are. Europe is cracking down too. Food and drink companies, American or otherwise, will face tough new labeling and advertising laws. Stephen Beard reports from London.

STEPHEN BEARD: The new law will require that companies substantiate any health benefits they advertise for their food or drink.

Claims that a product is low in fat or high in fiber, that it cuts cholesterol or even that it “fortifies the body’s natural defenses ” will have to be approved by a special scientific committee set up by the European commission.

All food and drink companies aiming products at health-conscious consumers will be affected.

They’re all up in arms over the new law, says Tobias Buck of the Financial Times.

TOBIAS BUCK:“It affects such an important and growing segment of the market they operate in, and indeed the expectation is that a lot of the claims, a lot of the slogans and a lot of the packaging that is used at the moment will have to be reworked.”

Some lawyers say the new law is so complicated it may dissuade food companies, especially the smaller ones, from making any health claims at all.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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