Sports nutrition alliance urges European Commission to rethink legislation

Posted: 17 February 2021 | | No comments yet

Proposed legislation by the European Commission would limit the health claims that certain food products can make – something ESSNA claims would harm the sports nutrition industry.

sports nutrition labelling legislation

ESSNA claims the proposed legislation will make it harder for consumers to make choices around which products they buy

The European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) has warned that the European Commission’s recent revised legislation will result in a spread of misinformation about specialist products amongst consumers, in its response to the Inception Impact Assessment on the Proposal for a revision of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers (FIC).

In the proposal for the FIC revision, the Commission suggests the setting of nutrient profiles to restrict the promotion of foods that are high in fats, sugars and/or salt. ESSNA says it understands the advice to the general population is to reduce consumption of sugars and salts and it supports the European Commission’s objectives to facilitate the shift to healthy and sustainable diets.

However, ESSNA claims the introduction of nutrient profiles is not suited for specialist products and would not improve the understanding of sports nutrition food products. Under the proposed legislation, some products designed for sportspeople would not be allowed to bear health claims which the alliance says would hinder consumers’ ability to make informed choices about the fuel they put into their bodies. Therefore, ESSNA has urged the Commission to assess appropriate exemptions for food intended for sportspeople.

“ESSNA fully supports the ambitious Farm to Fork strategy and understands that consumer information on food products is an important objective of this initiative,” said Dr Adam Carey, Chair of ESSNA.

“In the case of sports nutrition products, the existing regulatory framework provides sufficient information for consumers to make informed choices. The Commission’s proposal on nutrient profiles would not improve the respective legislation. Rather it would pose a barrier to the EU’s strategy to promote education on nutrition.

“For instance, sports nutrition products are often high in protein, the health benefits of which, such as maintenance of normal bones, are well established. Setting nutrient profiles on these products would prevent consumers from being informed on these benefits. Therefore, it is essential that the Commission considers introducing exemptions for food intended for sportspeople.

“Proposed regulation such as this could potentially enormously set back the work that the industry does to improve consumers’ understanding of and access to education on specialist food products, such as ESSNA’s education campaign. It is crucial that this is taken into account by the Commission when considering major changes to legislation.”