The European Commission has admitted it will miss its 31 January, 2010, deadline for approving an EU-wide list of allowable health claims for food products.

Brussels today (14 July) blamed the unexpected “high number” of 44,000 submitted claims, whose lengthy processing was further delayed by member states compiling applications in different ways.

The Commission consolidated these into 4,000 claims before passing them to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for assessment – mandatory under the EU’s new health claims legislation.

EFSA will now only publish its opinions, which must come before the Commission approves its final list of approved claims, in batches starting September.