66. The Committee recalled that, following its decision to continue its review of health claims, information on national policies had been requested from governments in CL 1997/3-FL. Many delegations informed the Committee of the current status of their national legislation on health claims. The Committee agreed that although national regulations in this area differed considerably from one country to another, this issue deserved careful and continuous attention, in view of increasing interest concerning health claims by many parties including consumers.
67. It was noted that there were several sub-categories of health claims, ranging from health promotion and disease prevention effects to therapeutic ones, and that this situation could often lead to confusion when the subject was discussed.
68. Recalling that all provisions on health claims had been removed from the Draft Guidelines for Use of Nutrition Claims when they were advanced to Step 8 by the last session, as no agreement was reached with regard to certain subcategories of Health Claims, the Committee agreed that there was a clear need to develop an internationally agreed definition for Health Claims on the basis of the work already done by the Committee.
69. The Delegation of France suggested that the definition of Health Claims might need to be revised in such a way as to differentiate subcategories of Health Claims and the Delegation of Canada noted that new types of claims, such as structure/function claims, would require consideration.
70. Several delegations indicated that those health claims relating to the prevention, cure and treatment of disease were not accepted in their countries but there was a need to consider further other specific health claims made in the context of a balanced diet, and they expressed their interest in the experience presented by the Delegation of the United States in this respect.
Status of the Proposed Draft Recommendations for the Use of Health Claims
71. The Committee agreed to circulate the sections on Health Claims as previously contained in the Draft Guidelines for Use of Health and Nutrition Claims as Proposed Draft Recommendations for government comments at Step 3 (see Appendix VII) with a view to developing a draft amendment to the Guidelines for Use of Nutrition Claims, subject to their adoption by the Commission.