New EU regulations mean that many foods that have been branded as “superfoods” can no longer be so called, unless scientific evidence can be provided of their super status. Blueberries, salmon, spinach and soy have all been branded as superfoods, which are foods rich in nutrients, vitamins and anti-oxidants. Superfoods are generally those that have properties that can reduce the chances of contracting cancer, digestive diseases, heart disease and improve lifespan. Research has been done, but now EU law makers feel that not enough evidence is present for a food to be classified as a “superfood” The new laws will apply to all food or drink products made or sold for human consumption within EU nations.
100 Super Foods
Almost 100 products have been described as superfood, and sales of products like blueberries and spinach have soared. But some nutritionists claim there are no proven benefits of “superfoods” and say marketing is misleading. “This way the consumer knows why this food is healthy” A spokeswoman from the Food Standards Agency.
“The new EU legislation will ban the use of the term superfood unless it is accompanied by a specific authorized health claim that explains to consumers why the product is good for their health. However, companies will have just over two years to adjust their marketing in line with the new rules. The legislation will also mean nutritional claims such as “low in salt” or “light” will have to meet a standardized definition agreed by the EU. And foods that make a nutrition claim – such as being low in salt – will have to make it clear on the same label if they are also high in fat or sugar. In addition, foods that are high in more than one nutrient will not be allowed to make a nutrition claim about another of its ingredients.” BBC Health.
“The regulation still risks unintended consequences. It could compromise innovation of healthier products” Kevin Hawkins of the British Retail Consortium.
Food Standards Agency Advice on Superfoods
A spokeswoman from the Food Standards Agency said: “The use of general terms on food, such as ‘healthy for you’ or ‘superfood’, imply a health benefit. However, these terms do not communicate why the food is healthy or a superfood. So, the regulation requires they are backed up by a relevant and authorized health claim. This way the consumer knows why this food is healthy.”
Kevin Hawkins of the British Retail Consortium said: “Our concern is not about the principle of this legislation. “It is right that claims such as ‘reduced fat’ or ‘good for your heart’ are supported by science but customers must not be denied nutrition and health messages they find valuable. The regulation still risks unintended consequences. It could thwart national health campaigns and compromise innovation of healthier products. We will need to keep the impact of this regulation under review.”
Superfoods Become Wonderfoods?
So, after all the hype of ensuring that superfoods play an important role in our diets, it will soon be illegal to classify food as superfood. For the purposes of this new legislation, we shall now be referring to all foods which have the potential of reducing risks of heart disease, cancer and digestive disorders, as wonderfoods.
Source: BBC Health News