The European Parliament environment committee has pushed for food businesses to be freed of tough authorisation procedures for health claims proposed by the European Commission, where they do not involve protecting consumers against illness.

In amendments approved yesterday (22 March) in its second reading of a planned European Union (EU) regulation on food nutrients, the committee said "a quicker and more flexible registration procedure" than originally proposed should apply for these statements.

Tougher authorisation procedures designed by the Commission would however be required for products marketed through anti-illness claims or where the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) objects to any registration.

The committee also called for lighter controls for smaller food companies, tighter rules on health claims involving children and for trademarks involving nutritional slogans to be exempted from any assessment system. The amendments must be approved by the full parliament and the EU Council of Ministers to be written into the regulation.