Codex in relation to Functional Foods Dr. Biplab K. Nandi Senior Food and Nutrition Officer (Retd.)Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations PresidentSociety for Nutrition, Education and Health Advancement (SNEHA), Kolkata
Outline of PresentationIntroductionFunctional Foods and Health BenefitsRegulatory MattersCodex and Functional FoodsConcluding Remarks
Introduction Research and development over the years haveshown that in addition to nutrients, there arevarious other components in foods that may bebeneficial to health.These bioactive or functional ingredients arebelieved to be able to serve physiological rolesbeyond provisions of simple nutrientrequirements, for example ability to promotegeneral well being or even reduce the risk ofchronic diseases.
Introduction (Contd.)Foods containing such functional ingredients aretermed ‘functional foods’. These foods aresimilar in appearance to conventional foods andare intended to be consumed as part of a normaldiet.Functional foods should be in conventional foodform and possess inherent or addedbioactive/biologically active components thathave characteristics of promoting health benefitsbeyond basic nutrition that can be substantiatedscientifically.
Commonly consumed foods withpotential functional properties and health benefits Foods Probable bioactive Possible health component(s) benefits responsible for health benefits Grain Dietary Fiber Reduce risk to Products, cancer Fruits and Vegetables Grain Fiber, particularly Lower risk of Products, Soluble Fiber coronary heart Fruits and disease Vegetables Contd.
Soya bean Phytosterols, Anticarcinogens, isoflavones, saponins, lower blood phenolic acids, phytic cholesterol acidBroccoli and Glucosinolates are Reduce risk toOther converted to indoles, cancerCruciferous isothiacyanatesvegetables Contd.
Tea (green flavonoids, especially Reduce risk toand black) catechins coronary heart diseaseYoghurt Bifido bacteria Improve gut health and reduce risk to colon cancersTurmeric Curcumin Carminative, astringent and antiseptic; reduce risk to cancer Contd.
Functional FoodsIt can be stated that: All foods are Functional ButFunctional Foods are MORE Functional
Regulatory MattersFunctional foods must comply withnational regulations on nutrition. Allfunctional foods must meet the necessaryrequirements for food safety, labelling andclaims as determined by nationalregulations or such guidelines as providedby Codex Alimentarius.
Regulatory Matters (Contd.)For regulatory clearance of functional foods, anapproval system consisting of expert committeemembers from different disciplines isencouraged to be in place in each country withinthe framework of the existing regulatory system.False claims through advertising and promotionmust be controlled through regulatory agencies.A minimum effective level of the bioactivecomponent(s) must be established for thefunctional claim, and this level must bemaintained throughout its shelf life.
Regulatory Matters (Contd.)The safety level of the claimed bioactivecomponent(s) must be stipulated.Approved analytical methods must be availablefor testing the food, preferably carried out byaccredited laboratories.Regulatory activities on functional foods shouldbe established within the existing regulatorysystem and should also regularly keep abreastwith Codex guidelines. Effective monitoring andevaluation of such activities should be central tosuch a regulatory system.
Codex and Functional FoodsRecognizing the need for an enhancedcoordinated approach to the global developmentof functional foods, the FAO/WHO RegionalCoordinating Committee for Asia (CCAsia), at its13th session in Kuala Lumpur held in September2002, first commenced discussions on thissubject.The Coordinating Committee recommended thatFAO and WHO organize an expert consultationto discuss various aspects of functional foods.
Codex and Functional Foods (Contd.)Following on that initial development, atthe 14th session of CCAsia meeting held in2004 in South Korea, a pre-Codexworkshop on functional foods wasorganized. A wide variety of topics werediscussed, including safety evaluation,scientific substantiation as well asconsumer perceptions, concerns, andbehaviours.
RemarksCodex and Functional FoodsIt may be noted that so far there was noconsideration of functional foods as suchin Codex, and no definition.However, there are Guidelines on Use ofNutrition and Health Claims that define theconditions for health claims includingnutrient function claims
Remarks (Contd.)At present there is no work in Codex on“Functional Foods”, Codex work wascompleted with the finalization of thescientific criteria for health claimsincluded in Guidelines on Use ofNutrition and Health Claims, and therewas no proposal in the CCNFSDu orCCFL to discuss " Functional Foods"
Functional Foods and Codex- Nutrition ClaimsNutrition claims should be consistent withnational nutrition policy and support thatpolicy. Only nutrition claims that supportnational nutrition policy should be allowed.Health claims should be consistent withnational health policy, including nutritionpolicy, and support such policies whereapplicable.
Nutrition Claims (Contd.)Nutrition and Health Claims (CAC/GL 23-1997)Example:“Nutrient A (naming a physiological role ofnutrient A in the body in the maintenance ofhealth and promotion of normal growth anddevelopment).Food X is a source of/ high in nutrient A.”
Nutrition Claims (Contd.)Other function claims – These claims concern specificbeneficial effects of the consumption of foods or theirconstituents, in the context of the total diet on normalfunctions or biological activities of the body. Such claimsrelate to a positive contribution to health or to theimprovement of a function or to modifying or preservinghealth.Examples:“Substance A (naming the effect of substance A onimproving or modifying a physiological function orbiological activity associated with health). Food Y containsx grams of substance A.”
Nutrition Claims (Contd.)Reduction of disease risk claims – Claims relating the consumption of a food or food constituent, in the context of the total diet, to the reduced risk of developing a disease or health related condition.Risk reduction means significantly altering a major risk factor(s) for a disease or health-related condition.Diseases have multiple risk factors and altering one of these risk factors may ormay not have a beneficial effect. The presentation of risk reduction claims must ensure, for example, by use of appropriate language and reference to other risk factors, that consumers do not interpret them as prevention claims. Examples: “A healthful diet low in nutrient or substance A may reduce the risk of disease D. Food X is low in nutrient or substance A.” “A healthful diet rich in nutrient or substance B may reduce the risk of disease F. Food Y is high in nutrient or substance B.”
Nutrition Claims (Contd.)NUTRITION LABELLING Any food for which a nutrition or health claim is made should be labelled with a nutrient declaration in accordance with Section 3 of the Codex Guidelines on Nutrition Labelling.NUTRITION CLAIMS The only nutrition claims permitted shall be those relating to energy, protein, carbohydrate, and fat and components thereof, fibre, sodium and vitamins and minerals for which Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) have been laid down in the Codex Guidelines for Nutrition Labelling.
Nutrition Claims (Contd.) .NUTRIENT CONTENT CLAIMSWhen a nutrient content claim that is listed in the Table to theseGuidelines or a synonymous claim is made, the conditionsspecified in the Table for that claim should apply.Where a food is by its nature low in or free of the nutrient that isthe subject of the claim, the term describing the level of thenutrient should not immediately precede the name of the food butshould be in the form “a low (naming the nutrient) food” or “a(naming the nutrient)-free food”; say, Low-sodium or Sodium-free.
Concluding RemarksAs such there is no work in Codex on“Functional Foods”Codex work was completed with thefinalization of the scientific criteria forhealth claims included in Guidelines onUse of Nutrition and Health ClaimsNational Authority therefore, is the keyfor regulating Functional Foods in themarket
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