The UK’s Office for Health Improvements and Disparities (OHID) last month published an open consultation on the regulation of nutrition and health claims, asking the public for their opinions on proposed changes relating to nutrition labelling, composition, and standards (NLCS).
The aim is to ensure that claims made about food and drink are accurate, allowing consumers to make informed choices.
Consultation seeks feedback on two proposed amendments
The consultation, which is open until 31 October, asks for feedback on two proposed amendments to the Nutrition and Health Claims (England) Regulations 2007.
The first would reform the enforcement procedure for the regulation of nutrition and health claims in England by introducing an improvement notices regime, while the second would revoke 60 pieces of redundant tertiary legislation.
“Leaving the European Union (EU) was a historic moment for the United Kingdom (UK), giving us, for the first time in many decades, the final say over the way we legislate,” the consultation reads.
It adds: “For the first time in a generation, the UK’s statute book will not recognise the supremacy of EU law or EU legal principles. It is important that we make laws work for UK purposes.”
Proposed changes to legislation ‘sensible and of minor impact’
However, despite this statement, the proposed changes “are far from the overhaul some might have expected”, according to regulatory experts.
Luca Bucchini, managing director of Hylobates Consulting, said they were of “minor impact”.
He told Vitafoods Insights: “The interesting bit is that the consultation suggests to largely keep the current legislation on nutrition and health claims on food as it is. In other words, the current plan is for the UK to use – at least for the foreseeable future – the same laws that it agreed to when it was a member of the EU. This approach would ensure continuity and reduce burdens for food businesses.
“The consultation also clearly lays out that on-hold botanical claims will continue to be treated in the same manner as they were since 2014, which is the approach of the EU. Indeed, the proposed changes seem sensible, and of minor impact.”
Meanwhile, Mihai Inceu, a regulatory consultant for nutraceuticals, food supplements and cosmetics, wrote in a LinkedIn post: “The proposals are far from the overhaul some might have expected as a result of leaving the European Union and they focus on two main points:
"1. Changes to the enforcement procedure where a breach in regulation is detected/reported – 'improvement notices' will be introduced prior to the prosecution step. Worth noting that the current enforcement procedure is not exactly clear...
"2. A tidy-up exercise by revoking some EU retained legislative documents. Probably minimal impact, will improve the statute book and shed multiple documents without value currently.”