Medicinal claims

Prohibition, enforcement and delineation: Food in fact but medicine in law?

Bernd van der Meulen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Under EU medicinal law, substances presented as having properties for treating or preventing disease are medicinal products by virtue of their presentation. EU food law prohibits attributing to any food the property of preventing, treating or curing a disease. However, if certain conditions are fulfilled, it is allowed to make health claims for foods. Authorities in the Netherlands take the position that the EU prohibition on medicinal claims for foods is redundant because all products with such claims are medicinal products by virtue of their presentation. Thus, claims not (fully) authorised are enforced as infringements on medicinal law. The author systematically and comparatively analyses the food law prohibition on medicinal claims in relation to the concept of medicinal product by presentation. He argues that the presentation criterion is structural in nature and depends on the overall impression an averagely well-informed consumer acquires regarding a product. The prohibition on medicinal claims is behavioural in nature. It is possible to promise consumers too much regarding beneficial properties of a food without actually making them believe that the food is a medicinal product. The author argues against the Dutch interpretation and in favour of an interpretation adhered to by most other EU Member States.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-405
JournalEuropean Food and Feed Law Review
Volume12
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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food law
food quality
medicine
Medicine
food
Food
health claims
Food Legislation
Law
Netherlands
EU
Disease
interpretation
EU member state
European Law
Health
health

Cite this

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title = "Medicinal claims: Prohibition, enforcement and delineation: Food in fact but medicine in law?",
abstract = "Under EU medicinal law, substances presented as having properties for treating or preventing disease are medicinal products by virtue of their presentation. EU food law prohibits attributing to any food the property of preventing, treating or curing a disease. However, if certain conditions are fulfilled, it is allowed to make health claims for foods. Authorities in the Netherlands take the position that the EU prohibition on medicinal claims for foods is redundant because all products with such claims are medicinal products by virtue of their presentation. Thus, claims not (fully) authorised are enforced as infringements on medicinal law. The author systematically and comparatively analyses the food law prohibition on medicinal claims in relation to the concept of medicinal product by presentation. He argues that the presentation criterion is structural in nature and depends on the overall impression an averagely well-informed consumer acquires regarding a product. The prohibition on medicinal claims is behavioural in nature. It is possible to promise consumers too much regarding beneficial properties of a food without actually making them believe that the food is a medicinal product. The author argues against the Dutch interpretation and in favour of an interpretation adhered to by most other EU Member States.",
author = "{van der Meulen}, Bernd",
year = "2017",
language = "English",
volume = "12",
pages = "392--405",
journal = "European Food and Feed Law Review",
issn = "1862-2720",
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}

Medicinal claims : Prohibition, enforcement and delineation: Food in fact but medicine in law? / van der Meulen, Bernd.

In: European Food and Feed Law Review, Vol. 12, No. 5, 2017, p. 392-405.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Medicinal claims

T2 - Prohibition, enforcement and delineation: Food in fact but medicine in law?

AU - van der Meulen, Bernd

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - Under EU medicinal law, substances presented as having properties for treating or preventing disease are medicinal products by virtue of their presentation. EU food law prohibits attributing to any food the property of preventing, treating or curing a disease. However, if certain conditions are fulfilled, it is allowed to make health claims for foods. Authorities in the Netherlands take the position that the EU prohibition on medicinal claims for foods is redundant because all products with such claims are medicinal products by virtue of their presentation. Thus, claims not (fully) authorised are enforced as infringements on medicinal law. The author systematically and comparatively analyses the food law prohibition on medicinal claims in relation to the concept of medicinal product by presentation. He argues that the presentation criterion is structural in nature and depends on the overall impression an averagely well-informed consumer acquires regarding a product. The prohibition on medicinal claims is behavioural in nature. It is possible to promise consumers too much regarding beneficial properties of a food without actually making them believe that the food is a medicinal product. The author argues against the Dutch interpretation and in favour of an interpretation adhered to by most other EU Member States.

AB - Under EU medicinal law, substances presented as having properties for treating or preventing disease are medicinal products by virtue of their presentation. EU food law prohibits attributing to any food the property of preventing, treating or curing a disease. However, if certain conditions are fulfilled, it is allowed to make health claims for foods. Authorities in the Netherlands take the position that the EU prohibition on medicinal claims for foods is redundant because all products with such claims are medicinal products by virtue of their presentation. Thus, claims not (fully) authorised are enforced as infringements on medicinal law. The author systematically and comparatively analyses the food law prohibition on medicinal claims in relation to the concept of medicinal product by presentation. He argues that the presentation criterion is structural in nature and depends on the overall impression an averagely well-informed consumer acquires regarding a product. The prohibition on medicinal claims is behavioural in nature. It is possible to promise consumers too much regarding beneficial properties of a food without actually making them believe that the food is a medicinal product. The author argues against the Dutch interpretation and in favour of an interpretation adhered to by most other EU Member States.

M3 - Article

VL - 12

SP - 392

EP - 405

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JF - European Food and Feed Law Review

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