Health Claims Act
The Health Claims Act states that foods and supplements may not be advertised using health claims that they do not have. The Health Claims Act is intended to protect consumers and prevent companies from marketing products with unproven health claims.
So that's the theory! In practice:
more and more companies are adding vitamins and minerals to their products so they can market them as healthy. This is allowed, as vitamins and minerals have many proven health claims. However, this means that a product rich in fat and sugar can be declared healthy just by adding vitamins - and this is completely in line with the Health Claims Act. The addition of some vitamin C and a little zinc means that any food can be marketed as healthy because these things are good for the immune system. It doesn't matter what other effects the product could have on the body. What's more, there are no set maximum levels for the addition of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals etc.) to foods - meaning that consumers may be taking in too much, which could have a negative impact on their health.
- However, mostly small and medium-sized companies are not allowed to advertise natural foods and plants with health claims that are not approved by the authorities. Consider the following:
2. Anything that is not approved is automatically forbidden. Currently, there are around 2,000 plant-based substances that the EU has not yet evaluated. It will probably take years to tackle the majority of these products. Most claims are not even submitted due to costs. For example, we sell hundreds of plant-based products that have many health effects based on experience and traditional knowledge. BUT: who is going to fund a study on each individual substance in these plants to establish scientific proof?
To sum it up: The EU's regulatory fever, as seen in the Health Claims Act and others, has resulted in clever - and usually large - companies giving their unhealthy foods a positive image by stuffing them with artificial vitamins, while smaller companies are not allowed to make any claims about their products.
Red Bull gives you wings is not considered a health claim by the authorities, even though this kind of advertising suggests that consumption will make you fitter and healthier. But a tea company is not allowed to tell you that black tea improves concentration.
And it's only going to get worse. As soon as other plant-based substances are approved by the EU, the companies will pack these into their products for the chance to boost advertising.
Thankfully, there is no ban on the free expression of opinion, and customers are free to research the health impacts of teas, plants and healing herbs both online and in literature. So we wholeheartedly recommend that you exercise this right! For us, it's not about selling products full of promises for selling's sake. But you should be able to share information. Information is not necessarily advertising. You could, for example, label unapproved claims or claims that have not been submitted for approval as such to make it clear to the customer that these effects are currently only based on experience rather than scientific evidence. The affected party can then make their own decision about whether to purchase a product or get more information. We live in the internet age. Is it so difficult to trust people and to encourage them to think for themselves? Do we want consumers that do their own research or that follow whichever path they're told to? If there's a green traffic light on a food's packaging, it must be good and healthy. If it's red, it must be bad and unhealthy.