Turmeric: Italy prohibits all health claims and issues warning labels

The Italian Ministry of Health is prohibiting all health claims related to turmeric and issuing a new warning to be displayed on product labels.    

In light of the persistence of cases of hepatotoxicity linked to the intake of food supplements containing Curcuma longa extracts and preparations, the interdisciplinary group of experts decided to strengthen the regulatory action taken in 2019.    

Furthermore, the same group, after a thorough review of the scientific literature, concluded that there is no scientific evidence to support the physiological effects attributed to Curcuma longa in the ministerial guidelines.    

The regulation provides for the introduction of the following additional warning for the labeling of supplements containing ingredients derived from Curcuma longa and spp:  
“IMPORTANT WARNING In case of alterations in the liver function, biliary or gallstones of the biliary tract, the use of the product is not recommended. Do not use during pregnancy and lactation. Do not use for prolonged periods without consulting your doctor. If you are taking any medications, you should seek the advice of your doctor. "    

Furthermore, the aforementioned decree eliminates from the ministerial guidelines the physiological effects previously envisaged for Curcuma longa and spp, which, therefore, can no longer be used.    

Food business operators are required to comply with the label of food supplements containing extracts and preparations of Curcuma longa and spp no later than 31 December 2022.    

FBOs’ responsibility is to ensure compliance with food legislation, guaranteeing the safety of their products. It is also the obligation of the FBOs to verify that the ingredients used are not novel food pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283.    

Going into the merits of the supplements in question, FBOs are asked to provide data on significant consumption prior to 1997 of Curcuma longa and spp extracts with a high content of curcumin, since, from the works of the interdisciplinary group, there does not seem to be a history significant food consumption of these extracts/preparations, which appear to be novel food and, therefore, not usable in food. The data must relate to the specific ingredient and be related to the significant food use prior to 1997 (for more information, see Reg. (EU) 2018/456).    

The data collected must be sent by 31 October 2022 to the 4 DGISAN office ([email protected]postacert.it, and cc [email protected]; [email protected]) indicating in the subject: "sending data on significant use of Curcuma longa and spp extracts with a high curcumin content”.