Vitamin D is important for thenormal development of bones and teeth among babies, infants, children and adults, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has found in a new article 14 opinion.
Noting an already issued general function, article 13.1 positive opinion for a similar claim, EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) backed the submission from Specialised Nutrition Europe (SNE; formerly IDACE) that entered the system in 2008.
In its dossier, SNE targeted under-3s and proposed the claim, ““vitamin D is essential for the absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus in building strong teeth and bones”.
“The Panel considers that the role of vitamin D on bone and tooth mineralisation and homeostasis applies to all ages, including infants and young children (from birth to three years),” the NDA said in forwarding the claim: “Vitamin D contributes to normal development of bones and teeth.”
It noted that if the claim was utilised on follow-on formula or special foods for infants it should comply with the relevant regulations and contain at least 15% of reference values, “for nutrition labelling for foods intended for infants and young children”.
The EU nutrition and health claims (NHCR) opinion can be found here .
After publication SNE sent a statement welcoming the opinion.
"This opinions highlights the well-established role of certain nutrients in ensuring beneficial physiological effects for infants and young children, based on recognised scientific literature," it said.
"The health claim referring to children’s development and health will be used by our members for foods intended for infants and young children. Now that EFSA has finalised its assessment and that the health claim has been positively assessed, the Commission will need to formally adopt its decision through a regulation that will specify the conditions of use. The industry will use this claim in accordance with this regulation. This will allow parents and caregivers to be clearly informed on the role played by the nutrients."
"The opinion is fully in line with the proposed conditions of use submitted by SNE in 2008 and reflects the commitment of the specialised nutrition industry to develop the nutritional science and to ensure a high level of safety."