The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is expecting to be asked to re-evaluate up to 200 food health claims that it rejected over the last three years, just-food can reveal.

An EFSA spokesperson said the European Commission and EU member states had asked the agency to take a second look at the rejected claims after being lobbied by companies. In August, EFSA said 80% of the 2,758 claims it had assessed were either wrong or based on weak evidence.

Many of the claims sent back for another look centre on probiotics, the spokesperson said. Companies had failed to identify the micro-organism they use but now said they have the information, she explained. "We need all the details because these micro-organisms change very much from one to another," the spokesperson said.

Other re-evaluations of claims are also expected to focus on companies finding additional information for EFSA's scientists. "The goal is not to reject claims," the spokesperson insisted.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health scheduled for Monday (5 December) might formally approve 240 of the 550 claims that EFSA did hand to the Commission this summer as being valid.

However, a Commission spokesman told just-food there was a chance this vote might be postponed to 2012, breaking Brussels' target of agreeing the claims this year.

A spokesperson for FoodDrinkEurope, representing the European food and drink industry, said: "Discussions on the list of permitted claims are still ongoing."