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Nutrition and Health Claims

In a regulatory context, a claim is defined as any message or representation that is not mandatory under community or national law, including any form of pictorial, graphic or symbolic representation, that affirms, suggests or implies that a food has specific characteristics. There are two types of claims: nutrition and health claims.

Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006

The European Union´s rules on nutrition and health claims have been established by the Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 that started to apply on 1 July 2007. This regulation is the legal framework used by food business operators when they want to highlight the particular beneficial effects of their products, in relation to health and nutrition, on the product label or in its advertising.

The objective of these rules is to ensure that any claim made on a food’s labelling, presentation or advertising in the European Union is clear, accurate and based on scientific evidence.

Nutrition Claims

Nutrition claims mean any claim which states, suggests or implies that a food has particular beneficial nutritional properties due to:

  • The energy (calorific value) this food provides, provides at a reduced or increased rate or does not provide
  • The nutrients or other substances this food contains, contains in reduced or increased proportions or does not contain

Nutrition claims are only permitted if they are listed in the Annex of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006, lastly amended by Regulations (EU) No 116/2010 and 1047/2012.

Here, you can see several examples stated in the Regulation:

  • Low Fat: A claim that a food is low in fat may only be made where the product contains no more than 3 g of fat per 100 g for solids or 1.5 g of fat per 100 ml for liquids (1.8 g of fat per 100 ml for semi-skimmed milk).

  • Sodium-Free or Salt-Free: A claim that a food is sodium-free or salt-free may only be made where the product contains no more than 0.005 g of sodium, or the equivalent value for salt, per 100 g.

  • High Fibre: A claim that a food is high in fibre may only be made where the product contains at least 6 g of fibre per 100 g or at least 3 g of fibre per 100 kcal.

Health Claims

A health claim is any statement about a relationship between food and health. There are several types of Health Claims:

1. The so-called ‘Function Health Claims’(or Article 13 claims)

  • Relating to the growth, development and functions of the body
  • Referring to psychological and behavioral functions
  • Regarding slimming or weight-control

For example: Beta-glucans contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels or Calcium is needed for the maintenance of normal bones

2. The so-called ‘Risk Reduction Claims’ (or Article 14(1)(a) claims)

  • On reducing a risk factor in the development of a disease.

For example: Plant stanol esters have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol. Blood cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease

3. Health ‘Claims referring to children’s development’ (Article 14(1)(b) claims).

For example: Vitamin D is needed for the normal growth and development of bone in children

All health claims, both authorized and rejected, included in European regulations, can be easily consulted in EU Register of nutrition and health claims made on foods database.

What we would like you to do

Please take some time to explore and search on the EU Register of nutrition and health claims made on foods database and share your thoughts in the comments below.

You just have to click the link “EU Register of Nutrition and Health Claims” button on the website to start your search!

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This article is from the free online course:

Introduction to Food Science

EIT Food