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Health claims on food supplements

08/28/2014
 
Question:
Section 3 (5) of the Decree No. 225/2008 Coll., laying down requirements on food supplements and enrichment of foodstuffs, prohibits, within labelling, attributing qualities related to preventing, treating or curing human diseases to food supplements or to refer to these qualities.
Food supplements frequently do not refer to curative or preventive qualities of the commercial preparations themselves but to an ingredient or component that is contained in a specific product.
Is this text in violation of the above quoted legal regulation?
Opinion:
Labelling food supplements may not attribute qualities related to preventing, treating or curing human diseases to food supplements or to refer to these qualities. The same applies in the case when food supplement labelling attributes these qualities to ingredients or components contained in food supplements.
Justification:
Qualities related to prevention, treatment or cure of human diseases may not be attributed in labelling to food supplements. This fact is clear from the provision of Section 3 (5) (a) of the Decree No. 225/2008 Coll., stipulating requirements on food supplements and enrichment of foodstuffs (hereinafter “Decree No. 225/2008 Coll.”). These qualities may not be subsequently attributed in labelling of food supplements to ingredients or components contained in food supplements because such provided ingredient or component is a part of foodstuff labelling in accordance with Section 2 (a) of the Decree No. 113/2005 Coll., on the method of labelling foodstuffs and tobacco products, as amended by subsequent regulations (hereinafter “Decree No. 113/2005 Coll.”).   
Consequently, if food supplements are labelled in violation of the provision of Section 3 (5) (a) of the Decree no. 225/2008 Coll., Section 11 (2) (a) point 3 of the Act No. 110/1997 Coll., on foodstuffs and tobacco products and on amending and supplementing certain related acts, as amended by subsequent regulations (hereinafter "Act No. 110/1997 Coll."), is violated, therefore the obligation of a food business operator placing foodstuffs on the market to immediately withdraw foodstuffs labelled insufficiently or incorrectly is violated.
Violation of this obligation results in committing an administrative offense in accordance with Section 17a (1) (f) of the Act No. 110/1997 Coll., for which a penalty in accordance with Section 17a (2) (d) amounting up to CZK 50,000,000 shall be imposed. With force as of 1 January 2015 this represents committing an administrative offense in accordance with Section 17 (2) (q) of the Act no. 110/1997 Coll., for which a penalty in accordance with Section 17 (11) (c) of the same act amounting up to CZK 10,000,000 shall be imposed.