Following the motion for resolution on total diet replacement products being rejected at the ENVI Committee in September 2017, with the objection being supported by 26 MEPs, rejected by 36 MEPs with one abstention, the VLCD Industry Group produced the below statement:

Posted On: 1st September 2017

The debate can be viewed here.

Professor Anthony Leeds, Medical Director of the European Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) Industry Group said:

“The EU has misjudged this issue.  The very latest published scientific evidence shows that total diet replacement (VLCD and LCD) programmes deliver the amount of weight loss (10 to 20kg) needed to have a huge beneficial impact on Europe’s major health challenges: diabetes, osteoarthritis, and cardiovascular disease.  An EU-funded trial in six EU member-states and two others* has shown that people at risk of diabetes can reduce weight by an average 10kg using total diet replacements and over one third are no-longer pre-diabetic. The health-care cost-savings of this are mind-boggling and should have convinced more committee members to vote for this rejection of legislation.  It is deeply disappointing that this European collaborative scientific/commercial project between the UK, Sweden and Denmark, where doctors proved that elderly obese could lose 10kg and keep it off for four years, suffering less pain throughout as a consequence, has been set back when all EU countries face pressure to limit the number of knee replacement operations.

“Today’s decision will also have catastrophic effects on ordinary consumers simply wanting to manage their weight loss, and carries a very real risk of forcing them to turn to dangerous, unregulated alternatives such as illegal slimming pills or ‘fad’ diets’ in their desperation to lose weight. It goes completely against the main objective of the Food for Specific Groups regulation to enhance consumer safety, and quite simply, is very likely to escalate the already shocking public health challenge of obesity in Europe.”

“What’s perhaps most frustrating is that these rules are disproportionate and largely unsubstantiated. TDRs have always been overseen by stringent EU food regulation that complies with international standards. They are carefully designed according to scientific research which ensures they consist of compositionally sound food products that provide 100% of recommended dietary allowances, including good quality protein and essential fats. The European Food Safety Authority itself has openly admitted that some of its recommendations are based on theory rather than hard scientific evidence. This legislation is not supported by evidence showing that current compositions are anything other than safe, nor is there hard scientific evidence to show that the new changes would make them safer for consumers.”

“We supported the need for legislation on composition but our repeated requests that the scientific evidence be reconsidered before legislation was made were rebuffed. Obesity and obesity-related conditions are challenging all European countries.  A majority of committee members failed in their public duty to insist that the highest standards of scientific evidence should inform the structure of legislation and their increasingly obese constituents will have good cause to reject them at the 2019 polls.”

*Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, The Netherland, Spain and the United Kingdom, plus Australia and New Zealand.