The positive opinion under Article 13.5 relates to a reduction of tooth demineralisation – an effect that GSK sought to establish with the help of 25 human intervention trials and 10 in vitro studies.
The EFSA panel judged that a cause and effect relationship could be established between the ‘toothkind’ drinks and reduced demineralisation, but only when they are consumed in place of high quantities of juice or sugary drinks.
It said the relationship could be established only when the drinks are consumed in place of conventional juices drunk four times daily or typical sugar containing acidic soft drinks consumed seven times a day.
To reflect this, the panel suggested the following wording for a health claim: “Frequent consumption of typical juice drinks and sugar-containing, acidic, non-alcoholic beverages may contribute to tooth demineralisation; consumption of 'toothkind' juice drinks in replacement of typical juice drinks and sugar-containing, non-alcoholic beverages may help to reduce tooth demineralisation.”
What is different about this positive opinion is that it relates to specific, comparative conditions.
“Comparative nutritional claim”
Thomas Pauquai, from the consultancy Nutraveris, said: “For this 'toothkind' drink's health claim, conditions of efficacy are extremely precise. It seems that this claim is more close to a comparative nutritional claim than a health claim stricto sensus.”
And Anke Sentko, the vice president of regulatory affairs and nutrition communication at Beneo-Orafti, said this could be something that the industry should take note of. The regulation specialist told this publication that the positive health claim was, “A very good sign indeed for the topic of 'comparative claims'. Might it be that EFSA is now taking a final product approach rather than the ingredient approach that was communicated to industry in the early days of the nutrition and health claims regulation?”
The GSK opinion is also the latest of several positive claims related to tooth health. Pauquai noted two positive opinions in October for sugar-free chewing gum and another in 2008 for xylitol chewing gum. He said: “Tooth seems to be an 'easy' application for claiming.”
To read the opinion from EFSA's Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA), please click here.