A new food standard to regulate nutrition content claims and health claims on food labels and in advertisements became law on 18 January 2013.
Food businesses must comply with the new standard (Standard 1.2.7) from 18 January 2016.
Nutrition content claims and health claims are voluntary statements made by food businesses on labels and in advertising about a food.
Nutrition content claims are claims about the content of certain nutrients or substances in a food, such as ‘low in fat’ or ‘good source of calcium’. These claims will need to meet certain criteria set out in the Standard. For example, with a ‘good source of calcium’ claim, the food will need to contain more than the amount of calcium specified in the Standard.
Health claims refer to a relationship between a food and health rather than a statement of content. There are two types of health claims:
- General level health claims refer to a nutrient or substance in a food and its effect on a health function. They must not refer to a serious disease or to a biomarker of a serious disease. For example: calcium is good for bones and teeth.
- High level health claims refer to a nutrient or substance in a food and its relationship to a serious disease or to a biomarker of a serious disease. For example: Diets high in calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in people 65 years and over. An example of a biomarker health claim is: Phytosterols may reduce blood cholesterol.
Food businesses wanting to make general level health claims will be able to base their claims on one of the more than 200 pre-approved food-health relationships in the Standard or self-substantiate a food-health relationship in accordance with detailed requirements set out in the Standard. Read more about the notification process.
High level health claims must be based on a food-health relationship pre-approved by FSANZ. There are currently 13 pre-approved food-health relationships for high level health claims listed in the Standard.
All health claims are required to be supported by scientific evidence to the same degree of certainty, whether they are pre-approved by FSANZ or self-substantiated by food businesses. Food-health relationships derived from health claims approved in the European Union, Canada and the USA have been considered for inclusion in the Standard.
Health claims will only be permitted on foods that meet the nutrient profiling scoring criterion (NPSC). For example, health claims will not be allowed on foods high in saturated fat, sugar or salt.
Endorsements that are nutrition content claims or health claims will be permitted, provided the endorsing body meets requirements set out in the Standard.
Standard 1.2.7 – Nutrition, Health and Related Claims will:
- reduce the risk of misleading and deceptive claims about food
- expand the range of permitted health claims
- encourage industry to innovate, giving consumers a wider range of healthy food choices
- provide clarity for the jurisdictions enforcing the Standard.
Nutrition content claims and health claims (information for industry)
Transition work on Standard 1.2.7
Standard 1.2.7 - Nutrition, Health and Related Claims
The history of the development of the standard
Question and answers
Health Claims Scientific Advisory Group
High Level Health Claims Committee