Health foods would be nothing without the claims they make on the packaging.
But some claims might soon vanish, due to a European regulation which demands that health food companies come up with the scientific evidence to back their labelling. The regulation extends to a vast range of products - from multi-vitamins and slimming pills to margarine and yoghurt.
Of the claims so far considered, the overwhelming majority have been rejected, leaving many health food manufacturers with a very bad case of indigestion.
The Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation was adopted back in 2006 "to ensure that consumers are not misled by unsubstantiated, exaggerated or untruthful claims about foodstuffs", but it is only now that it is beginning to bite.
European Union member states have together submitted over 44,000 'general function' health claims on the part of manufacturers. These were boiled down to 4,637 claims for consideration by the Parma-based European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Of around 900 claims so far examined, a massive 80% have been rejected.