WASHINGTON—CRN supplied official comments to support the GOED Authorized Health Claim Petition for “Eicosapentaenoic and Docosahexaenoic Acids (EPA/DHA) and Reduction of Blood Pressure in the General Population."
If the GOED (Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s) petition is successful, it will allow companies to use the health claim on products containing sufficient amounts of EPA/DHA.
CRN members rely on the most current and substantiated research on health and nutrition for their ingredients and products, including the information in the petition submitted by GOED on an authorized health claim for EPA and DHA and the reduction of blood pressure in the general population.
A health claim characterizes the relationship between a substance and a disease or health-related condition. Such a claim explains that a food or food component may reduce the risk of a disease or a health-related condition, and it must contain the elements of (1) a substance and (2) a disease or health-related condition. Further, health claims are limited to claims about disease risk reduction, and they cannot be claims about the diagnosis, cure, mitigation or treatment of disease.
Health claims provide an excellent opportunity to increase consumer awareness of diet and disease relationships, and they direct thoughtful and public health responsive choices. Approval of health claim language regarding EPA+DHA and blood pressure reduction would help policy-makers, healthcare professionals, educators and consumers recognize the benefit of these nutrients and subsequently reduce U.S. morbidity and mortality from coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke.
The public health burden of high blood pressure is extensive. Research shows 31 percent of Americans are hypertensive, 30 percent are considered pre-hypertensive and approximately 20 percent are hypertensive yet unaware of their status (“silent"). Of those with hypertension, the blood pressure of only 47 percent is adequately controlled. Prior research shows that diet and lifestyle modifications, including physical activity, sodium reduction, and fish oil supplementation, can reduce blood pressure and decrease cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.
The relationship between hypertension and CVD, the leading cause of death in the United States, is well-documented and supported by multiple lines of biological evidence. As small as a 2 mmHg reduction in blood pressure may reduce death from stroke, CHD and total mortality by 6 percent, 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively.
GOED’s petition supports a role for EPA+DHA in blood pressure reduction using a comprehensive meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and systematically reviews the observational epidemiologic literature on EPA+DHA (“O-3 rich intake") and blood pressure.
CRN agrees with the statement that appears in the final report and recommendations FDA’s “Task Force on Consumer Health Information for Better Nutrition," which echoes the best available science put forth by GOED in their “Authorized Health Claim Petition for Eicosapentaenoic and Docosahexaenoic Acids and Reduction of Blood Pressure in the General Population."
The statement submitted by James C. Griffiths, vice president, scientific and international affairs, CRN, reads:
"We believe that the work of this task force provides a credible and effective framework for the agency and the food and dietary supplement industry to begin to use immediately, to provide more and better information to consumers about the health and nutritional benefits of their products. The task force believes that significant public health benefits will result when consumers have access to, and use, more and better information to aid them in their purchases, information that goes beyond just price, convenience, and taste, but extends to include science-based health factors. Armed with more scientifically based information about the likely health benefits of the foods and dietary supplements they purchase, consumers can make a tangible difference in their own long-term health by lowering their risk of numerous chronic diseases. With millions of citizens making use of such information for their own health benefit, a great deal will be gained when this type of information is provided in food labeling."