Ladies and Gentlemen,
The European Parliament and the European Council of Ministers adopted a measure which directly concerns the interest of people conscious of their health: the Regulation (EC) NO. 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims on foods already entered into force in 2006 and has since been modified several times.
The Regulation especially prohibits information not yet scientifically proven given by the food operators on the mode of action of ingredients. The result is that Natural Products are particularly affected by this ban as the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) considers many natural remedies and food supplements as food. This is why we see the risk of valuable information being withhold from interested consumers.
We fear that the content of the Regulation in its most recent version is influenced essentially by the lobbying of some major pharmaceutical and agrarian companies who are mainly the ones to profit from it. We consider this to be a further step towards a suppression of alternative and natural remedies or methods which could fall into oblivion for the benefit of orthodox medicine.
We should also reconsider the role of the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority).The Regulation (EC) NO. 1924/2006 authorises the EFSA to scientifically evaluate which information concerning the mode of action of ingredients is to be allowed or prohibited. Thus, the EU Commission will be enabled to reject applications for approval of information about the mode of action of ingredients without further consideration if once assessed negatively by the EFSA.
According to latest information, the list of authorised health claims does not include ca. 90% of all originally proposed health claims on the mode of action of natural remedies’ ingredients. Therefore, it is not surprising that only ca.230 out of 4,637 applications for approval have been authorised by the EFSA.
We consider today to be an especially critical point in time. At this very moment it is being debated in the EU with which scientific criteria the EFSA is to test a large number of still unassessed information on plant compounds. If the EFSA can’t be forced to set up appropriate criteria for plant compounds which have to be treated differently than chemical substances, we face a wide-ranging ban of the promotion of health-related effects of these plant compounds.
We stand for a Europe in which the democratic debate about health claims will continue. Most of all, we claim our right to information and our right to receive an alternative treatment without any restriction.
The deputies of the European Parliament which have been directly elected by the citizens of the member states of the European Union have the responsibility to take care of the safeguarding of these individual rights.
We thus personally call on the Members of the European Parliament to immediately start the political debate for the clarification of the following points:
- Incorporation of the right to receive alternative treatment in the EU health law.
- Reformation of the role of the EFSA in the European approval process.
- The rebalancing of the European position on health claims on plant compounds. Elaboration of fair and appropriate test criteria for plant compounds.
- Revision of the Regulation (EC) NO. 1924/2006 and its Implementing Regulations taking into consideration the interests of naturopathy.
Your Verein Grundrecht auf Gesundheit
First Chairperson Daniela Birkelbach
Second Chairperson Günther Stein
After the expiry of the period of time for the joint underwriting, the petition including the names and addresses of the co-signing persons will be handed to the European Parliament.