Conditions for Use
The Regulation sets out:
General conditions for use of nutrition and health claims
The use of nutrition and health claims will only be permitted if the following conditions are fulfilled:
1. The presence, absence or reduced content in a food or category of food of a nutrient or other substance in respect of which the claim is made has been shown to have a beneficial nutritional or physiological effect, as established by generally accepted scientific evidence;
2. The nutrient or other substance for which the claim is made:
- Is contained in the final product in a significant quantity as defined in Community legislation or, where such rules do not exist, in a quantity that will produce the nutritional or physiological effect claimed as established by generally accepted scientific evidence; or
- Is not present or is present in a reduced quantity that will produce the nutritional or physiological effect claimed as established by generally accepted scientific evidence;
3. 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;
4. 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;
5. compliance with the specific conditions set out in Chapter III or Chapter IV of the Regulation as the case may be.
- The use of nutrition and health claims shall only be permitted if the average consumer can be expected to understand the beneficial effects as expressed in the claim.
- Nutrition and health claims shall refer to the food ready for consumption in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
Specific conditions for nutrition claims
Nutrition claims will only be permitted if they are listed in the Annex and comply with the conditions set out in this Regulation.
Examples of nutrition claims listed in the Annex:
- “low in fat” – a claim that a food is low in fat may only be made where the product contains no more than 3g of fat per 100g for solids or 1.5g of fat per 100ml for liquids.
- “source of fibre” – a claim that a food is a source of fibre may only be made where the product contains at least 3g of fibre per 100g or at least 1.5g fibre per 100kcal.
- ”sugar free” – a claim that a food is sugars-free may only be made where the product contains no more than 0.5g of sugars per 100g or 100ml.
A comparison may only be made between foods of the same category, taking into consideration a range of foods of that category. The difference in the quantity of a nutrient and/or the energy value must be stated and the comparison must relate to the same quantity of food.
Comparative nutrition claims must compare the composition of the food in question with a range of foods of the same category, which do not have a composition which allows them to bear a claim, including foods of other brands. More information on comparative claims can be found in this guidance document.
Specific conditions for health claims
Health claims will only be permitted if the following information is included in the labelling, or if no such labelling exists, in the presentation and advertising:
- A statement indicating the importance of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle;
- The quantity of the food and pattern of consumption required to obtain the claimed beneficial effect;
- Where appropriate, a statement addressed to persons who should avoid using the food; and
- An appropriate warning for products that are likely to present a health risk if consumed to excess.
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 approved health claim.
In most cases, consumers perceive products carrying certain claims to be better for their health and wellbeing. However, at present, a food which is high in fat, salt and/or sugar, can still use claims such as “rich in vitamin C” or “high in fibre” to attract consumers.
This legislation was due to tie the use of health or nutrition claims to certain conditions related to the nutrient profiles (i.e. level of fat, sugar, salt etc.) of foods.
These nutrient profiles were to be established by the Commission by 19th January 2009 at the latest and were to be based on the scientific opinion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). However, to date, nutrient profiles have not been established.
Last reviewed: 12/5/2015