The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has approved a children's health claim submitted under EU health and nutrition regulations by the Spanish business of dairy giant Danone.

Danone's submission, made to the Spanish food agency, related to all foods based on fresh cheese made from cows' milk containing at least 120mg of calcium, 120mg of phosphorus and 0.75µg of vitamin D per daily portion of 100g.

The dairy company stated: "Dairy fresh cheese contains calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus and protein, nutrients that contribute to healthy bone growth"

EFSA's panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) said that cause and effect relationships had been established between the intakes of calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, and protein and normal growth and development of bone in children and adolescents.

However, the panel did not approve claims relating to phosphorous and protein consumption. It said: "A dose-response relationship has not been established between either within (or above) the range observed in European populations and normal growth and development of bone in children or adolescents".

While the EFSA panel noted there existed "good consensus on the role of protein and phosphorus in growth and development of bone", it said the application lacked evidence demonstrating there was a children's population deficiency and therefore ruled the claims unnecessary.

It added that an approved health claim for either nutrient may attribute an importance to them not backed up by the available scientific data.

The claim, the EFSA said, has now been passed to the European Commission and member states for further assessment before a final health claim is finalised and published, or rejected.