Frédéric Vincent, spokesperson on Health & Consumer Policy at the Commission confirmed to ConfectioneryNews.com that a Standing Committee on the food chain and animal health (SCFCAH) met on 10 December 2012 and altered the phrasing of Callebaut’s claim to make it easier for consumers to understand.
The claim was authorized in this draft decision, set to be finalized in March this year, and now reads:
→ “Maintenance of the elasticity of blood vessels.”
The previous wording read:
→ "Cocoa flavanols help maintain endothelium-dependent vasodilation which contributes to normal blood flow."
Barry Callebaut hopes to use the claim on products made through its flavanol-preserving Acticoa method, a process that maintains 80% of cocoa flavanols usually destroyed in the chocolate-making process.
The company declined to comment on the latest Commission decision.
'Normal' versus 'healthy'
SCFCAH notes indicate that Callebaut had wanted the claim to refer to “healthy blood flow”, but the committee intervened and expressed a preference for “normal blood follow” only, as previously proposed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Two delegations in the committee raised concerns about specifying cocoa beverages as either water or milk based and recommended giving a definition to dark chocolate.
Some EU member states were also worried that the claim may lead to over-consumption that goes against national dietary advice and health policies.
One-fifth of a bar
In EFSA’s scientific opinion issued in July last year, it said that the claimed effect could only be obtained through 200mg of cocoa flavanols daily, which is equivalent to 2.5 high flavanol cocoa powder or 10g of high flavanol dark chocolate, about one fifth of a regular sized chocolate bar.
The health claim is expected to be adopted and published in March 2013 after internal procedures have been completed.
Barry Callebaut will have exclusive rights to the claim for five years if approved.