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EUROPE: Bottled water industry confident over hydration claims

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Bottled water producers remain confident that they will still be able to make hydration claims on their products, despite a new EU rule banning them from promoting bottled water to prevent dehydration.

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From this month, a newly-implemented European Commission directive has banned bottled water firms from claiming that their products prevent dehydration. Explaining the move, a Commission spokesperson said that this is because "dehydration is considered as a disease". A claim on a food or drink product cannot "promise to prevent, cure or treat a disease.

"A health claim has to be scientifically backed before being approved by the Member States," a spokesperson for the European Commission told just-drinks.

The Commission's stance on dehydration is potentially a blow for the industry. However, the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) has said that it is confident of gaining approval for two other health claims on bottled water.

"We don't see that it would have any impact on us [industry], because it is not the only claim that is being submitted," a spokesperson for the BSDA told just-drinks this week. "There are two other claims that have been recommended to the EFSA for approval, one of which talks about maintenance of normal, physical and cognitive functions and the other, normal regulation of body temperature."

The BSDA said it is awaiting formal approval of the two terms. A meeting of the standing committee is expected to take place in December, before a final European Commission meeting in the New Year.


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