Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies was asked to provide a scientific opinion on a list of health claims pursuant to Article 13 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. This opinion addresses the scientific substantiation of health claims in relation to foods with reduced amounts of sodium and maintenance of normal blood pressure. The scientific substantiation is based on the information provided by the Member States in the consolidated list of Article 13 health claims and references that EFSA has received from Member States or directly from stakeholders.
The food constituents that are the subjects of the health claims are “sodium/salt”, “low sodium/salt and/or increased potassium”, “food reduced/low in/free of sodium/salt and/or increased potassium”, “breads with salt content of <0.7 %”, and “natural berries/sodium”. From the information provided, the Panel assumes that the food constituent that is the subject of the health claims is sodium, which should be reduced in foods in order to obtain the claimed effect. The Panel considers that the food constituent, sodium, which is the subject of the health claim, is sufficiently characterised.
The claimed effects are “effects on blood pressure”, “heart health”, “blood pressure, heart health”, and “cardiovascular system”. The Panel assumes that the target population is the general population. In the context of the proposed wordings, the Panel notes that the claimed effect relates to the maintenance of normal blood pressure. The Panel considers that maintenance of normal blood pressure is a beneficial physiological effect.
The evidence provided by consensus opinions/reports from authoritative bodies and reviews shows that there is good consensus on the effect of sodium intake on blood pressure in normotensive and hypertensive human subjects.
The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between high dietary sodium intakes and increased blood pressure, and that the reduction of dietary sodium intake helps maintain a normal blood pressure.
To establish conditions of use, sodium/salt nutrition claims as per Annex of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 should be considered. The target population is the general population.