There’s a story making the rounds on websites, some newspapers, and wire services like UPI saying that the EU has banned any statement (such as on bottled water) that “regular consumption of significant amounts of water can reduce the risk of development of dehydration.”
We’ve been so accustomed to seeing stupidity from government lately, that this seemed plausible. But it isn’t.
Here’s a link link to the actual ruling:
There’s also a statement from EFSA clarifying the issue, they write:
Among those claims was a claim related to the role of water in the prevention of dehydration filed earlier this year by two German scientists. At the time, the claim had to be rejected by EFSA because it was filed under the wrong legal provision (Article 14 of Regulation 1924/2006/EC instead of Article 13). In short, Article 14 deals with diseases and illnesses whereas dehydration was not regarded by EFSA as a disease.
I’ve checked out these two pages and the rejection based on it being filed in the wrong context seems accurate. Thanks to Maurizio Morabito for pointing out the EFSA link.
A lot of people got taken in by the incorrect Newspaper and wire reports, and they continue to spread. Here’s Alec Rawls original story below.
Update: I’ve added Alec’s further comments below, claims and counterclaims leave this issue unresolved. – Anthony
Thanks to Anthony for including the EFSA response at the beginning of my post. Comparing the their “clarifications” with the actual ruling, however, I have to say that the Express reporting seems to be accurate, while the EFSA’s clarifications grossly misrepresent their ruling.
The clarification asserts that EFSA issued a pro-forma rejection of the proposed health claim on the grounds that dehydration is not recognized as a disease, leaving the implication that since no actual health claim was made, there would be no prohibition on making it. The ruling itself however, quite clearly does accept that dehydration IS a disease. Their actual grounds for rejecting the proposed claim was a bizarre assessment that the claim does not address a risk factor for the disease, but only a measure of the disease, and hence is not a valid claim about reduction of a risk factor.
This is incredibly stupid. Failure to drink enough water is not a risk factor for dehydration? Just to try to make this distinction is nonsensical enough, but then they get it wrong to boot, on the most trivially simple matter: can drinking water help prevent dehydration? Here are the key parts of the ruling:(1) Pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 health claims made on foods are prohibited unless they are authorised by the Commission in accordance with that Regulation and included in a list of permitted claims.
(6) … the applicant proposed water loss in tissues or reduced water content in tissues as risk factors of dehydration. On the basis of the data presented, the Authority concluded in its opinion received by the Commission and the Member States on 16 February 2011 that the proposed risk factors are measures of water depletion and thus are measures of the disease. Accordingly, as a risk factor in the development of a disease is not shown to be reduced, the claim does not comply with the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 and it should not be authorised.
They do declare the claim unauthorized, meaning disallowed, which would not be the case if they had ruled that it was not actually a health claim. So everything in the clarification is just a fraud. It seems they got embarassed when people noticed how stupid their ruling was and concocted a completely dishonest excuse.
Saturday not-so-funny: Europeans can now be imprisoned (2 yrs!) for claiming that water protects against dehydration
Guest post by Alec Rawls
“It took the 21 scientists on the panel three years of analysis into the link between water and dehydration to come to their extraordinary conclusion,” reports the UK Express. To be precise, the European Union has barred vendors from claiming that “regular consumption of significant amounts of water can reduce the risk of development of dehydration.” Apparently there are some skeptics:
Perhaps a dictionary would have helped. Dehydration, from “hydor,” the Greek word for water, means to lose water, or suffer water deprivation.
“The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are, highly paid, highly pensioned officials trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true,” says Conservative MEP Roger Helmer.
Wait a minute. How does an anti-science flat-earther like Helmer rate mainstream ink? Leave science to the scientists!