Wording of Health Claims
When wording health claims on pack, food businesses should keep as close as possible to the authorised wording listed in the EU register. However, some flexibility is possible to adapt the wording to help consumer understanding.
1. The adapted wording must have the same meaning to the consumer as the authorised wording and must not make the claim ‘stronger’ than the authorised claim
Authorised wording: ‘Selenium contributes to the normal function of the immune system’
Permitted adapted wording: ‘Selenium supports the normal function of the immune system’
It is important that the health claim is not made ‘stronger’ than the authorised claim.
Non-permitted adapted wording: ‘Selenium optimises the normal function of the immune system’
2. Use of the term ‘normal’
The term ‘normal’ appears in the authorised wording of many Article 13 health claims. It should be retained if the wording is being adapted, and should not be replaced by another term or removed.
For example, the claim ‘Calcium contributes to normal muscle function’ should not be reworded to ‘Calcium contributes to muscle function’, as this changes the meaning.
3. Health claims should only be made for the nutrient, substance, food or food category for which they have been authorised and not for the product that contains them
Take as an example the authorised health claim ‘Iron contributes to the normal function of the immune system’. In relation to a food called ‘Murphy’s Milk’ containing the relevant amount of iron, it would be acceptable to say:
‘Iron contributes to the normal function of the immune system’ or
‘Murphy’s milk contains iron which contributes to the normal function of the immune system’
‘Murphy’s milk contributes to the normal function of the immune system’ since there is no clear link made between the nutrient (iron) and the claimed effect.
4. General, non-specific health claims
When reference is made to general, non-specific benefits of a nutrient or food for overall good health, it must be accompanied by a specific, authorised Article 13 or 14 health claim
For example, if a general claim like ‘GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN’ was made on the front of a food called ‘Sheila’s seaweed’ (which is a source of iodine), it would be acceptable to present this as:
‘GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN’ -Iodine contributes to the maintenance of normal skin’ or
‘GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN’ –Sheila’s seaweed contains iodine which contributes to the maintenance of normal skin’.
5. Reference to excerpts from EFSA opinions
The wording for each authorised health claim is provided in the EU register. EFSA opinions do not authorise wording for health claims. Use of phrases from an EFSA opinion on food products is not appropriate, as the phrase may not have the same meaning for the consumer as that of the authorised claim on the EU register.
Last reviewed: 3/9/2014