This PDF link is to the EU Regulations 1924/2006 and these regulations state that they should apply to “all nutrition and health claims made in commercial communications”.
Given the number of remarkable claims that appear on some commercial websites, I’m a little surprised that I haven’t yet read of these regulations being enforced. So I thought I’d make use of these regulations to report one firm that has been making nutrition and health claims on their website that I doubted could be substantiated.
Principle Healthcare Ltd are the participants in my case study. Here is the beginning of my communication with Trading Standards:
Dear Sirs or Mesdames,
I note that it is stated that these regulations apply to all commercial communications. I assume that claims made on a website that promotes products – and has a telephone number for those wishing to purchase the firm’s products and links to a website where these products can be bought online – would come under the definition of a “commercial communication”.
This being the case, I wish to draw your attention to the following:
This page: http://www.principlehealthcare.co.uk/popup.cfm?p_n=411998&p_i=411998; claims that “Apple Cider Vinegar has the presence of a natural array of acids and minerals that help to maintain the body’s own acid balance and mineral metabolism. Apple cider can help curb appetite, boost the immune system and much more. Apple Cider Vinegar contains a balance of minerals, including potassium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, fluorine and silicon”. The page further claims that “Apple Cider Vinegar speeds up the body’s metabolic rate”; and that “It also helps curb appetite, is a gentle detoxification agent, absorbs and blocks fat formation, boosts the immune system and supplies amino acids, minerals and vitamins.”
The regulations state that “Nutrition and health claims shall be based on and substantiated by generally accepted scientific evidence” and that “A food business operator making a nutrition or health claim shall justify the use of the claim.” The company in question should have to justify their use of these above claims and provide substantiation for them.
The same is true of all of the following claims:
“As well as helping to keep our cholesterol levels in check through diet we also need to keep our homocysteine levels in check as a high level of this amino acid also increases our risk of a problem with the circulatory system.” (http://www.principlehealthcare.co.uk/treating.cfm)
“Pomegranate is believed to provide natural anti viral, anti fungal and anti bacterial benefits.” (http://www.principlehealthcare.co.uk/popup.cfm?p_n=434608&p_i=434608)
http://www.principlehealthcare.co.uk/popup.cfm?p_n=434612&p_i=434612: “We develop a deficiency of beneficial bacteria as we get older and therefore become more vulnerable to infections.”
http://www.principlehealthcare.co.uk/popup.cfm?p_n=412010&p_i=412010; “Co Q10 has also been shown to possess antioxidant qualities and is therefore of benefit to those exposed to pollution and stressful lifestyles.”
http://www.principlehealthcare.co.uk/popup.cfm?p_n=412011&p_i=412011; “Echinacea is a traditional herbal remedy that can help combat the common cold, stimulate the immune system and help in wound healing.”