SP supports ban on ‘healthy lollipop’ claims

12 December 2007

SP supports ban on ‘healthy lollipop’ claims

The European Parliament voted today to approve a change in the rules governing health claims on food products. SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard explained that "Fooling children into thinking that some lollipops are really healthy will no longer – eventually - be allowed. In my view, however, the proposal doesn't go nearly far enough, though it will certainly represent an improvement on the present situation."

Kartika LiotardDutch TV personalities have been known to recommend Chupa-chup lollipops as a healthy alternative, 'because they contain no fat'. Soon such claims will be banned throughout the European Union. As Liotard points out, "Of course there's never any fat in this kind of sweet, it's the sugar that's the problem. Suggesting that these lollies are healthier than other sweets is therefore completely misleading, so it will be banned. A good thing too. But if it was up to me all health claims on foodstuffs aimed at children would be ruled out." Liotard has brought forward a number of proposals during the negotiations preceding today's vote, but none won majority support.

“The European Commission wanted in the first instance to go much further in getting rid of incorrect, misleading or unproven health claims, but unfortunately the Parliament opposed this," Liotard explained. "Following lengthy negotiations a compromise was arrived at. The SP supported this because it was better than nothing." Amendments to the rules voted on today provide for a transition period during which health claims involving children's development will be phased out.

The centre-right European People's Party, the European Parliament's biggest group, which consists mainly of Christian Democrat parties including the governing Dutch CDA, proposed an amendment which would have undermined an essential section of the proposed legislation against misleading health claims. “In a word, scandalous!" was Kartika Liotard's angry reaction. "After two years of negotiations we reached a compromise that the right tried to throw out. The Christian Democrats have shown today that the interests of the food processing industry are to them more important than people's health, and even than children's health. Perhaps the Christian Democrats' 'claim' that they are the party of the family should also be re-examined!"

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