In 2007, the Nutrition and Health Claim Regulation (NHCR) entered into force, which required scientific substantiation of health claims. In the field of antioxidants, most proposed claims were negatively assessed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). This study reviews the perception of the NHCR of 14 Dutch stakeholders to unravel the grounds for disproving the putative health claims. Most claims are shown to be refused based on the quality of scientific substantiation, due to usage of scientific methods on which no consensus has been reached and the differences in expectations and requirements. Three themes exemplify the need for improvement in applying the NHCR: (i) enforcement; (ii) methodology; and (iii) perceived impact of the NHCR. With highly diverging perceptions of stakeholders, the current effectiveness of the NHCR can be questioned. The views of different stakeholders on these themes help to focus the discussion on the NCHR in capturing health effects.
Keywords: Antioxidants; bioactive compounds; biomarker; functional food; health food; healthy benefits; nutrition.