View Full Version : The Onion? Nope, Sadly, it true...via the Telegraph

Nicholas Carey
11-19-2011, 04:37 PM
Even though it reads like satire from The Onion, it appears to be a brilliant piece of rule-making from Brussels.



EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration
Brussels bureaucrats were ridiculed yesterday after banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration.
By Victoria Ward and Nick Collins
6:20AM GMT 18 Nov 2011

EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.

Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.

Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.

“The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true.

“If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it.”

NHS health guidelines state clearly that drinking water helps avoid dehydration, and that Britons should drink at least 1.2 litres per day.

The Department for Health disputed the wisdom of the new law. A spokesman said: “Of course water hydrates. While we support the EU in preventing false claims about products, we need to exercise common sense as far as possible."

German professors Dr Andreas Hahn and Dr Moritz Hagenmeyer, who advise food manufacturers on how to advertise their products, asked the European Commission if the claim could be made on labels.

They compiled what they assumed was an uncontroversial statement in order to test new laws which allow products to claim they can reduce the risk of disease, subject to EU approval.

They applied for the right to state that “regular consumption of significant amounts of water can reduce the risk of development of dehydration” as well as preventing a decrease in performance.

However, last February, the European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) refused to approve the statement.

A meeting of 21 scientists in Parma, Italy, concluded that reduced water content in the body was a symptom of dehydration and not something that drinking water could subsequently control.

Now the EFSA verdict has been turned into an EU directive which was issued on Wednesday.

Ukip MEP Paul Nuttall said the ruling made the “bendy banana law” look “positively sane”.

He said: “I had to read this four or five times before I believed it. It is a perfect example of what Brussels does best. Spend three years, with 20 separate pieces of correspondence before summoning 21 professors to Parma where they decide with great solemnity that drinking water cannot be sold as a way to combat dehydration.

“Then they make this judgment law and make it clear that if anybody dares sell water claiming that it is effective against dehydration they could get into serious legal bother.

EU regulations, which aim to uphold food standards across member states, are frequently criticised.

Rules banning bent bananas and curved cucumbers were scrapped in 2008 after causing international ridicule.

Prof Hahn, from the Institute for Food Science and Human Nutrition at Hanover Leibniz University, said the European Commission had made another mistake with its latest ruling.

“What is our reaction to the outcome? Let us put it this way: We are neither surprised nor delighted.

“The European Commission is wrong; it should have authorised the claim. That should be more than clear to anyone who has consumed water in the past, and who has not? We fear there is something wrong in the state of Europe.”

Prof Brian Ratcliffe, spokesman for the Nutrition Society, said dehydration was usually caused by a clinical condition and that one could remain adequately hydrated without drinking water.

He said: “The EU is saying that this does not reduce the risk of dehydration and that is correct.

“This claim is trying to imply that there is something special about bottled water which is not a reasonable claim.”

11-19-2011, 04:46 PM

11-19-2011, 04:49 PM
A three year study.

I wonder at what cost.

Peerie Maa
11-19-2011, 04:50 PM
The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/the-lay-scientist/2011/nov/18/1) has a little fun taking the p!ss out of its competing British newspapers who ran this story. It should be noted that both the Torygraph and Daily Mail are anti EU. The Guardian also links to the EU ruling (from February) here: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/doc/1982.pdf

11-19-2011, 07:54 PM
the telegraph is a rag.
They've been distorting EU rulings since forever.

11-19-2011, 07:58 PM
I'm having a glass of Pinot Grigio with my dinner tonight. Am I safe?


It sounds as though it was made by Johnny Foreigner, so no, it definitely is not safe.

Peerie Maa
11-20-2011, 06:36 AM
the telegraph is a rag.
They've been distorting EU rulings since forever.

Like all commercial media, the Torygraphy panders to their readers prejudices.

Don't force me to post the Yes Prime Minister clip "Who reads the papers" ;)

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
11-20-2011, 06:47 AM
Go on - post it anyway.

There's probably an interesting take on it in HERE (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b01756jp)

If not you could try "You and Yours".....

11-20-2011, 06:54 AM
Nicholas, I am watching a performance of The Mikado. This ruling seems an excellent subject for a new G&S musical play.:D

Peerie Maa
11-20-2011, 06:57 AM
Go on - post it anyway.

He made me do it, honestly Guv.


BTW It's good to see (hear) Punt and Dennis working together again.

Peerie Maa
11-20-2011, 07:14 AM
Nicholas, I am watching a performance of The Mikado. This ruling seems an excellent subject for a new G&S musical play.:D

The ruling is quite sensible in context. The "REGULATION (EC) No 1924/2006 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods" is about Snake Oil and advertising. It is to stop manufacturers making spurious and unfounded claims in order to sell more product. It looks as though Prof. Dr. Moritz Hagenmeyer and Prof. Dr. Andreas Hahn may have been representing some one who was hoping to flog lots of bottled water as a health drink.

Peerie Maa
11-20-2011, 07:51 AM
I'm not sure I'd call it sad, but it's certainly silly. Good to see the EU has their eye on the priorities.


Yep a total waste of burocracy eh Donn?

Peerie Maa
11-20-2011, 08:00 AM
Sorry to have to tell you this, PM, but your post has nothing whatever to do with the topic of the thread.

However it is relevant to your snark, pot and kettle and all that. ;)

Have you read and understood my other posts and their links?

Peerie Maa
11-20-2011, 08:25 AM
I read the OP only, and understood it.

Then I recommend that you follow the links in #5 and then read #16.

Driver Mark
11-20-2011, 08:32 AM
I'm not sure I'd call it sad, but it's certainly silly. Good to see the EU has their eye on the priorities.

Unlike our congress that always focuses on the probelms at hand.:D

Peerie Maa
11-20-2011, 08:34 AM
Sorry, I'm busy reading about the effects of anthocyanins on arthritis.

Found many spelling errors ;)

The Judge
11-20-2011, 11:02 AM
You did? Where?

You make it look so easy! :d

Driver Mark
11-21-2011, 10:23 AM
Another one with "Bush did it, too" syndrome.
WOW, I was thinking more about the REALLY important "In God We Trust" thing. After all making sure the country has a friggin motto is so much more important than solving any of the other problems said country might be facing.
Sorry it took so long to reply to that but I've been busy.