Suggestions that a food contains healthy ingredients or that it can provide beneficial effects upon consumption have been regulated in the EU since 2006. This paper describes the analysis of how this nutrition and health claim regulation has resulted in over 300 authorised claims and how the authorisation requirements and processes have affected the use of claims on foods. Five challenges are identified that negatively affect the current legislation dealing with nutrition and health claims: non-reviewed botanical claims (as well as on hold claims for infants and young children), the lack of nutrient profiles and the focus of claims on single ingredients, consumer understanding, research into health effects of nutrition and finally, enforcement. These challenges are shown to influence the goals of the regulation: protecting consumers from false and misleading claims and stimulating the development of a level playing field in the EU, to foster innovation. Tackling these political and scientific substantiation questions for health claims, together with continuously analysing the understanding and usage of claims by consumers and operators will ensure that the NHCR will stay effective, today and in the future.
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