A fictional look at how EU restrictions on health information might affect society
With today’s signing into law of the European Union’s (EU’s) long-delayed Community list of generic health claims on foods and food ingredients, approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), one of the most important questions that arises is: what are the potential implications of the Community list?
Free speech decimated
During our campaign for a veto of the Community list earlier this year, we spent quite some time explaining why the Community list as it stood – and stands, given the European Commission’s inflexibility on the issue – is an incredibly bad idea. To summarise: we believe that the EFSA-approved list represents the most serious infringement on free speech that we’ve ever come across, both within and outside the healthcare sphere.
Six months from today, over 90% of the health-related information on foods and ingredients will abruptly disappear from the EU marketplace. And, as if that weren’t bad enough, Commission officials reckon that the number of approved health claims will hardly be swelled by approved claims for botanicals – phytonutrients being essential for human health.
Health claims crystal ball
Fortunately, there are ongoing moves in the European Parliament to reduce the worst effects of the Community list. We’ll bring you news of those moves as soon as we can – but, in the meantime, we’ve cast some runes and looked into the office crystal ball in an attempt to see where all this is leading. We realise this is something of a departure for ANH-Intl, but as a campaign organisation we’re always trying to find new ways of communicating with the people who really matter: you, the public. A slightly ironic piece of near-science fiction is not something we’ve tried before, but we think it’s a novel way of illustrating what this legislation could mean, on an individual level.
We hope you like it, and we’d love to hear your thoughts!
So: meet our fictitious character Joe, who lives in a high-rise flat in the year 2050, just 38 years from now. After an overheard conversation in a cafe, he’s beginning to wonder why his health isn’t all it could be – and he’s looking for answers...