EU bans claim that water prevents dehydration

“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.”

The Sunday Telegraph reports,

Brussels bureaucrats were ridiculed yesterday after banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration.

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.

Read the Telegraph article.

11 thoughts on “EU bans claim that water prevents dehydration”

  1. Sorry, that second-to-last sentence should have read: “…making the general health claim that it “reduces risk of development of dehydration” incorrect from a medical point of view.”

  2. The source for this is an opinion in the Journal of the European Food Safety Authority (which by the way is not “a meeting of scientists”, but a permanent EU agency that publishes hundreds of such opinions each year.) It can be found here:

    It’s pretty unclear even by the usual official EU standards, but as far as I can tell as a layman, they’re saying that dehydration is a condition rather than a disease, and they also make a distinction between a “risk factor” of dehydration and a “measure”. I guess the point is that there are diseases which cause dehydration as a symptom, and since water won’t reduce the risk of those, making the general health claim that it “reduces risk of development of dehydration”. Just my interpretation, anyway.

  3. What did the 21 scientists in Parma really say? Are they saying that an underhydrated body is undernourished and that that is what water (alone) could not take care of. So, what’s the beef of the Parma report?

  4. Ok, when I need to rehydrate, I’ll drink beer.
    If I’m thirsty I’ll consider water if there is no beer.

    I’ve never liked the psuedo-medical advertising term “hydrate” or “hydration.” Back when I thought I knew some chemistry, hydrates were solids that contained bound water.

  5. Robert Heinlein once wrote that the intelligence of a committee was inversely proportional to its number. Easy to see why bureaucrats from the Ministry of we-know-best pulse with ideas befitting their abject imbecility and lack of insight. The bureaucratic ruling elite believe explicitly in their own apparently elevated status, their distant removal from the steaming herds and the ivory tower which they inhabit. It cannot feature on their intellectual radar that anyone else is able to see the obvious: that they’re wearing no clothes. And they’ll protest their ‘do goodedness’ even as Dr Guillotine rattles (metaphorically speaking) down the runners en route to their skinny napes on the day of reckoning, when they will be held to account.

  6. Well, there is no method to claiming that bottled water specifically prevents dehydration, so an implication that it has special hydrating power would be incorrect and misleading.

    I’m trying to interpret this as something sane here, and I think that we reading poor writing and bad translation, not the utter stupidity that it appears to be on first glance.

  7. I wonder if the last statements of the FULL Telegraph article are accurate?? Since they counter the other 99% of article. It Seems? to imply the EU is discounting the medial claim that the bottled water sellers are making, in short . . that in order to fight dehydration you must drink [and implies there product] 1.2 liters of water per day. It does not seem they are stating that the substance “water” H2O does not hydrate (or liquids / foods that contain water) but the companies claim that you must drink 1.2 liters of “pure” water in order to not suffer from dehydration per day, which is not medically true and a truly is a REAL false claim.
    BUT if that is not what they meant . .it IS insanity (but since all current articles come from the same source . . no one CAN really be sure either way yet) normally these type of articles get retracted quietly after a fire storm of outrage, and no one notices, including all of the other news and blogs that referenced it. I wonder if this will be the case here or this is really a governmental F up.

  8. From the Fantasy Factory that brought you the blockbuster – “CO2 destroys the Earth” –
    comes a new classic feature length fantasy –

    “Water no cure for dehydration”.

  9. Bureaucracy clearly causes mental problems and all bureaucrats clearly must resign their posts after 3 yrs on the job, lest they become terminally dehydrated…

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