Advertisers lambast EU proposals to restrict labelling health claims

The Advertising Association has attacked plans in a European Commission working document on food health claims, warning they could be anti-competitive, create a bureaucratic muddle and confuse consumers.

The document covers nutritional, functional and health claims used in the labelling, presentation and advertising of foods. It aims to protect consumers and ease the movement of goods in the European market.

One of its more controversial suggestions is the outlawing of claims such as “90 per cent fat free”, even if they are true, on the grounds that in some cases they mislead consumers, who believe they are eating very low-fat food. It also suggests banning non-specific general wellbeing claims, branding them “vague and often meaningless”.

Advertising Association European public affairs manager Phil Murphy says consumers like to have as much information as possible when buying products and a lack of detail could be confusing.

He says: “UK consumers want to know what they are buying. Where a claim is made that is factually true there should be no problem with it.”

Murphy also says the approval process mooted before foods get to market is “bogged down with bureaucracy”. He adds that the process could be anti-competitive, as it suggests that the commission publish details of new products on the Internet, which could give valuable commercial information to rivals.

Latest from Marketing Week

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here