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FAQ on When Claims Can Be Used

Nutrition and Health Claims

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Legislation on claims

    The rules on complying with the nutrition and health claims legislation are detailed in Regulation (EC) No. 1924/2006. Visit our Legislation section to access the full regulation and amendments.

  • General conditions for use of nutrition and health claims

    The use of nutrition and health claims are only allowed if the following conditions are met:

    • There must be a beneficial nutritional or physiological effect (effect on functioning of the body), (shown by generally accepted scientific evidence), for the claim made.
    • The nutrient or other substance for which the claim is made:
      • is contained in the final product in a significant quantity or in a quantity that will produce the effect claimed, or
      • is not present or is present in a reduced quantity that will produce claimed effect
    • where applicable, the nutrient or other substance for which the claim is made is in a form that is available to be used by the body 
    • the quantity of the product that can reasonably be expected to be consumed provides a significant quantity of the nutrient or other substance to which the claim relates, as defined in Community legislation or, where such rules do not exist, a significant quantity that will produce the nutritional or physiological effect claimed as established by generally accepted scientific evidence 
    • compliance with the specific conditions set out for nutrition and health claims in Regulation 1924/ 2006 Chapter III and IV
    • the average consumer can be expected to understand the beneficial effects as expressed in the claim.
  • Are brand names or trademarks considered a claim?

    Yes, a trade mark, brand name or fancy name appearing in the labelling, presentation or advertising of a food could be considered a nutrition or health claim. Trademarks and brand names or fancy names which could be construed as claims must be accompanied by a related, approved nutrition or health claim in that labelling, presentation or advertising. Access advice on this here: Nutrition and Health Claims Legislative Update on Trademarks and Brand Names.

  • Are general statements such as ‘for a healthy diet’ or ‘good for you’ considered a health claim?

    Under Article 10 (3) reference to general non-specific benefits of the nutrient or food for overall good health or health related well-being may only be made if accompanied by a specific health claim. Therefore, these general claims are not required to be present on the list of approved claims on the condition that they are accompanied by a relevant approved health claim.

    The Commission have adopted guidelines for the implementation of specific conditions for health claims laid down in Article 10 of Regulation (EC) No. 1924/2006 in Commission Implementing Decision 2013/63/EU.

  • Can I use the nutrition claim ‘with no added sugars’ if my product contains artificial sweeteners?

    Yes. According to the Annex of Regulation 1924/2006 the claim ‘with no added sugars’ can be used if the ‘product does not contain any added mono- or disaccharides or any other food used for sweetening purposes’. It is the opinion of the FSAI that ‘foodstuffs with sweetening properties’ refers to foods such as honey, sugars, glucose syrups, etc., but not refer to artificial sweeteners.

  • Is ‘contains antioxidants’ a health claim?

    Yes. If in the naming of the 'substance' or 'category of substances' there is a description or indication of a functionality or effect on health the 'contain claim' is a health claim. In other words, if the function is mentioned - even in the naming of a substance or substances - this relates to a health claim.

  • Is the term 'probiotic' a health claim?

    Yes the term ‘probiotic’ is an unauthorised health claim.

    Stating ‘contains probiotic’ (or similar) on a product is not the same as saying ‘contains ingredient X’. It is more than just mentioning the product contains bacteria. It implies that the product contains a substance that may be beneficial for health. Anything that states, suggests or implies a relationship between food and health can be considered to be a health claim. For this reason, the term ‘probiotic’, when used on a food label, is considered to be a health claim.

    Read our FAQ on Probiotic Health Claims

  • Is the term ‘gluten free’ a health claim?

    No. Rules for use of the term 'gluten-free' are set out in other legislation.

  • Is the claim ‘no artificial colours or preservatives’ covered under this legislation?

    No. Labelling of additives is mandatory under appropriate EU legislation and would not therefore be classed as a nutrition and/or health claim.

  • Can I use the nutrition claim ‘free from trans-fat’?

    No. The Annex of permitted nutrition claims does not include this claim.

  • Are there any health claims which are not permitted?

    Yes. The following health claims are not allowed:

    • claims which suggest that health could be affected by not consuming the food;
    • claims which make reference to the rate or amount of weight loss;
    • claims which make reference to recommendations of individual doctors or health professionals; and other associations not referred to in Article 11 of the Regulation;
    • claims which imply a food can treat, cure or prevent disease.
  • Can nutrition and health claims be made on all products?

    Claims cannot be made if it they are inconsistent with generally accepted nutrition and health principles or if they encourage or condone excessive consumption of any food or imply that the nutrient cannot be obtained from a balanced, varied diet.

  • Can any claims be made on alcoholic beverages?

    Beverages containing more than 1.2% of alcohol are not permitted to carry nutrition or health claims. However, nutrition claims referring to low alcohol levels, or the reduction of the alcohol content, or the reduction of the energy content for beverages containing more than 1.2 % by volume are permitted.

  • Can any food business operator (FBO) use the health claims from the Community list of health claims?

    Yes, any FBO can use a health claim from the approved list provided they meet the conditions for the use of such a claim.

  • Nutrient Profiles

    In most cases, consumers perceive products carrying certain claims to be better for their health and wellbeing. There are currently no restrictions on the use of nutrition and health claims on products which are high in nutrients such as fat, salt and/or sugar. This means that any products high in these nutrients can still carry claims such as “rich in vitamin C” or “high in fibre” to attract consumers.

    The European Commission is planning to establish 'nutrient profiles', that is, maximum amounts for nutrients such as fat, sugar and/or salt in foods, above which the use of nutrition or health claims would be restricted or forbidden.

    The Commission has been tasked with setting nutrient profiles to restrict the promotion of food high in fat, sugar and/or salt under the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation adopted in 2006. Now, in accordance with the action plan accompanying the EU's 'farm to fork' strategy, the Commission will submit a proposal on nutrient profiles. The proposal will form part of a wider package revising EU legislation on food information supplied to consumers, together with proposals on front-of-pack nutrition labelling, origin labelling, date marking, and labelling of alcoholic beverages.

    The introduction of nutrient profiles may result in the use of authorised nutrition and health claims on foods failing the nutrient profile to be restricted.