The approval of health claims on food products within the EU – a flagship food safety project – will be at least two years late, the European Commission admitted today (27 September). 

The Commission has given a formal deadline of June 2011 for approving all health claims except those involving herbs and other “botanical” ingredients.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) “is expected to finalise its assessment by [the] end [of] 2011”, said a Commission communiqué. 

All the work was supposed to have been completed by January this year and, given the Commission has to accept or reject EFSA’s proposals, the final food health claims approvals will probably emerge in 2012. Brussels blamed “the large number of health claims (more than 44,000…)” and a “delay in submissions by stakeholders” – for instance food manufacturers.