EFSA is Currently Considering Five Claims for Caffeine, and an Opinion is Expected by the End of 2013

27 Aug 2013

Caffeine is a well-known functional ingredient widely used in the nutritional products industry. Energy drinks, sports foods, fortified foods and food supplements (including energy shots) containing caffeine have a significant EU market share, and the impact of the developments on claims will have a major impact on the future of these products which may affect […]

EFSA is Currently Considering Five Claims for Caffeine, and an Opinion is Expected by the End of 2013

Caffeine is a well-known functional ingredient widely used in the nutritional products industry. Energy drinks, sports foods, fortified foods and food supplements (including energy shots) containing caffeine have a significant EU market share, and the impact of the developments on claims will have a major impact on the future of these products which may affect daily levels and conditions of use.

At the end of 2012, five Article 13(1) health claims relating to caffeine were put “on hold” until assessment by EFSA and final decision by the EU legislators. These five claims are:

Claim Conditions of use of the claim Conditions and/or restrictions of use of the food and/or additional statement or warning
Caffeine contributes to an increase in endurance performance In order to bear the claim, information shall be given to the consumer that the beneficial effect is obtained with caffeine consumption at doses of 3 mg/kg body weight at least one hour prior to exercise, and only if any other caffeine consumption is avoided for at least 12 hours prior to consumption of the product in habitual caffeine consumers. The claim may be used only for foods targeting adults performing endurance exercise.
Caffeine contributes to an increase in endurance capacity In order to bear the claim, information shall be given to the consumer that the beneficial effect is obtained with caffeine consumption at doses of 3 mg/kg body weight at least one hour prior to exercise and only if any other caffeine consumption is avoided for at least 12 hours prior to consumption of the product in habitual caffeine consumers. The claim may be used only for foods targeting adults performing endurance exercise.
Caffeine contributes to a reduction in the rated perceived exertion/effort during endurance exercise In order to bear the claim, information shall be given to the consumer that the beneficial effect is obtained with caffeine consumption at doses of 4 mg/kg body weight at least one hour prior to exercise, and only if any other caffeine consumption is avoided for at least 12 hours prior to consumption of the product in habitual caffeine consumers. The claim may be used only for foods targeting adults performing endurance exercise.
Caffeine helps to increase alertness The claim may be used only for food that contains at least 75 mg caffeine per quantified portion. In order to bear the claim, information shall be given to the consumer not to exceed a daily intake of 300 mg of caffeine. The claim shall not be used for foods targeting children.
Caffeine helps to improve concentration The claim may be used only for food that contains at least 75 mg caffeine per quantified portion. In order to bear the claim, information shall be given to the consumer not to exceed a daily intake of 300 mg of caffeine. The claim shall not be used for foods targeting children.

These “on-hold” health claims can still be used today as long as compliance is ensured with all general principles of the EU’s Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 and other European or national provisions applicable to them. In the meantime, claims may be used under the responsibility of food business operators.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is currently evaluating five health claims related to caffeine. The EFSA opinion could have a significant impact on the functional food sector. The conditions of use and the minimum dosage initially proposed in particular may be amended. The final EFSA report on the safety of caffeine is scheduled to be provided to the European Commission by 31 December 2013.

EFSA’s opinion on the safety of caffeine will be of great importance in terms of how products containing caffeine that are widely sold will be able to communicate the direct effects of caffeine to the consumer.

It is an issue that needs to be carefully monitored by food manufacturers, because the decisions of the EU and national authorities in the course of 2013 will have a significant impact on specific food categories.

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