"We have looked at what extra research needs to be done for such claims to be approved and what the cost would be, taking opinions from 57 researchers in the field," he told Grower. "One told us the four-year project he would have to undertake would cost more than £100,000. The European Commission needs to be aware of these costs - we are talking about a lot of money."
He added: "There should be an authority to prevent spurious claims (of foods' health benefits). But EFSA's standards are impractically high. It's not like pharmaceuticals - there will always be variations in the product. They have to be realistic. We still can't make these claims and so consumers won't be aware of the benefits."
Given generally accepted health benefits of fresh-produce consumption, he said: "It's in governments' interest not only that such claims should be made but that they should be publicised widely."