Rye flour that is claimed to be low-GI is among the products that have failed to win approval by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in its final batch of rulings on food health claims.
Health claims for other bakery ingredients, including pumpkin seeds, which were said to help maintain normal urination, also failed.
The panel ruled that: "On the basis of the data presented... a cause-and-effect relationship cannot be established between the foods/food constituents which are the subject of this opinion and the claimed effects."
The publication of the final series of 35 evaluations is the culmination of more than three years’ work. Since 2008, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) has assessed 2,758 food-related general function health claims to determine whether they were supported by sound scientific evidence. In the final batch of claims, just one in five was approved.
The panel did approve some health claims for bakery ingredients. These included products with "specific dietary fibres related to blood glucose control, blood cholesterol or weight management". In addition, the claim that walnuts do improve the function of blood vessels was approved, meaning this can now be used on foods containing walnuts. Claims that sugar-replacers used in bakery, including xylitol and sorbitol, could control blood glucose levels after eating, were also approved.
"EFSA’s independent evaluation concluded that a considerable number of claims made on foods are backed by sound science, including claims related to a wide range of health benefits," said Professor Albert Flynn, chair of EFSA’s NDA Panel.