Growing Support for Caffeine Health Claims

Reported by: Nutra Ingredients (19th Nov. 2012)

A European Commission working group has found growing support to authorise five mental and physical caffeine-based health claims – as long as they are accompanied by strict conditions of use statements. Despite not making it onto the list of 224 claims that will be validated across the EU next month, the 5 ‘general function’ claims received positive opinions from the EFSA as well as the UK Department of Health. This is certainly good news for suppliers of energy supplements or diet pills, which both rely heavily on the positive and stimulating effects of pure caffeine.

The five claims in question are:  

Caffeine helps to improve concentration

Caffeine helps to increase alertness

Caffeine contributes to a reduction in the rated perceived exertion/effort during endurance exercise

Caffeine contributes to an increase in endurance performance

Caffeine contributes to an increase in endurance performance capacity  

The proposed conditions of use are:  

Endurance claims are relevant for products which deliver 3-4mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight

For cognitive claims, products would have to contain a minimum of 75mg to make claims with a warning that consumption should not exceed 300mg in one day  

This latest development raises two questions. First, has it really taken this long for someone to discover these positive health claims? It seems to be an incredibly delayed reaction from the powers that be, especially when you consider that caffeine is a stimulant so powerful that it has never actually needed to make a claim, whether legally or otherwise. Second, if these claims do become authorised, how long will it be before a tax on caffeinated products is proposed? Spare a thought for all of those miners and farm workers who will have to break the bank every time they want a cup of coffee with their hot pasty at lunchtime. Read more