Following an application from Specialised Nutrition Europe (formerly IDACE), submitted for authorisation of a health claim pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 via the Competent Authority of France, the EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) was asked to deliver an opinion on the scientific substantiation of a health claim related to iodine and contribution to normal cognitive development.
The scope of the application was proposed to fall under a health claim referring to children’s development and health.
The food constituent that is the subject of the health claim is iodine, which is an essential nutrient and is measurable in foods by established methods. The Panel considers that iodine is sufficiently characterised.
The claimed effect proposed by the applicant refers to the importance of iodine for normal cognitive development. The target population proposed by the applicant is infants and young children from birth to three years of age. The Panel considers that contribution to normal cognitive development is a beneficial physiological effect for infants and young children.
A claim on iodine and contribution to normal cognitive and neurological function in the general population has already been assessed with a favourable outcome. In addition, there is a large body of evidence indicating a crucial role for iodine in growth and development.
The Panel notes the well established role of iodine in preventing iodine deficiency disorders such as retarded mental and physical development in children and adolescents, and impaired mental function and reduced cognitive capacity for people of all ages.
The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of iodine and contribution to normal cognitive development.
The following wording reflects the scientific evidence: “Iodine contributes to normal cognitive development”.
The Panel considers that in order to bear the claim, follow-on formulae should comply with the criteria of composition of follow-on formulae as laid down in Directive 2006/141/EC; nutritionally complete foods for special medical purposes intended for use by infants and nutritionally complete foods for special medical purposes other than those intended for use by infants should comply with the criteria of composition of these foods as laid down in Directive 1999/21/EC; processed cereal-based foods for infants and young children should comply with the criteria of composition of these foods as laid down in Directive 2006/125/EC; other foodstuffs intended for infants and young children should provide at least 15 % of the reference values for nutrition labelling for foods intended for infants and young children as laid down in Directive 2006/141/EC. Such amounts can be easily consumed as part of a balanced diet. The target population is infants and children up to three years. A Tolerable Upper Intake Level for iodine has been established for children, and has been set at 200 µg/day for children of 1-3 years of age.