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Dextro Energy: ECJ bans advertising using health claims

Health claims that are contrary to generally accepted nutritional and health principles can send a conflicting message to consumers.

ST/IW – 07/2017

Dextro Energy are not permitted to advertise products by using claims such as ‘glucose is metabolised within the body’s normal energy metabolism’ and ‘glucose supports normal physical activity’. This was the decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in its judgement from 8 June 2017 (C-296/16 P). 

 

The ECJ has thus confirmed the European Commission’s opinion that Dextro Energy’s use of health claims to advertise its products is contrary to the goals of Regulation No 1924/2206 on nutrition and health claims made on foods. 

 

In 2011, the company applied for approval to use several health claims on its labels or in its advertising; however, this was refused by the EU Commission in 2015. Although the health information provided by Dextro Energy is based on generally accepted scientific evidence and thus authorisation should have been granted in principle, the aim of national and international authorities is to reduce the consumption of sugar. Authorisation of the requested claims would have been contradictory to this goal because Dextro Energy has a high proportion of sugar. According to the Regulation mentioned above, authorisation in this situation cannot be permitted if the relevant claims are contrary to generally accepted nutrition and health principles. 

 

As such, the ECJ has confirmed the European Commission’s view that the claims would send an ambiguous message to consumers by encouraging them to consume sugar even though the average consumer should reduce their sugar consumption according to generally accepted nutrition and health principles.