Letter - PROs must wake up to EU health claim plans

We represent the Health Food Manufacturers' Association, Holland & Barrett and other leading brands, and we agree entirely with your warning to PROs ('MHRA clips wings of Butterflies Healthcare,' 10 March).

Yes, the existing regulations relating to food product promotion are already complex. But they are nothing compared with the proposed Nutrition & Health Claims Made on Food regulation, being finalised in Europe.

This will require prior approval for all claims attributing any beneficial effect from consuming any food product. This must be sought through a cumbersome process that will be prohibitively expensive for all but the largest companies.

The regulation will have direct force in the UK without further national debate when finalised in Europe. It will cover all on-pack information, marketing and advertising material, as well as website comment.

It will include brand names and prohibit product endorsement by medical professionals, as well as severely restrict a company's promotional links with charities.

It is all-encompassing, and yet most food product companies have yet to wake up and smell the coffee.

Chris Whitehouse, managing director, The Whitehouse Consultancy.

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