A new Standard to regulate nutrition content claims and health claims on food labels and in advertisements became law on 18 January 2013. Food businesses had until 18 January 2016 to comply with the new Standard (Standard 1.2.7 - Nutrition, health and related claims).
Find out more about the new Standard and the different types of claims.
Health claims must be based on food-health relationships that have been substantiated according to Standard 1.2.7.
Food businesses wanting to make a general level health claim can 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 (by following the process for systematic review as described in Schedule 6 of the Food Standards Code).
High level health claims must be based on food-health relationships pre-approved by FSANZ. There are currently 13 pre-approved food-health relationships for high level health claims in the Standard.
Food businesses can also apply to FSANZ for pre-approval of a food-health relationship underpinning a health claim. Read more about the application process.
Foods carrying health claims must meet certain compositional requirements set out in the Standard, including the nutrient profiling scoring criterion (NPSC). An online calculator is available to help food businesses determine a food’s nutrient profiling score. Other conditions in the Standard must also be met before a health claim can be made.
When Standard 1.2.7 was developed, 183 food-health relationships from EU-authorised health claims were included in the Standard. FSANZ committed to consider a further 32 EU-authorised health claims to establish whether food-health relationships from these could also be included in the Standard (read about this work).
FSANZ is also reviewing the currency of high level health claims already in Standard 1.2.7 (read about this work).
FSANZ has established a High Level Health Claims Committee to consider applications and proposals for health claims, and a Health Claims Scientific Advisory Group to provide technical and scientific advice to FSANZ.
Self-substantiation: Notifying established food-health relationships for general level health claims
Food businesses self-substantiating a food-health relationship so they can make a general level health claim must notify FSANZ of the relationship before making the claim on food labels or in advertisements for food.
FSANZ maintains a list of the notified food-health relationships. This is a public record of food businesses that have chosen to self-substantiate a food-health relationship to underpin a general level health claim.
FSANZ does not consider the merits of food-health relationships notified this way. Our role is limited to administering the notification process. Publication by FSANZ of a notification does not indicate acceptance or validation of the stated relationship.
Food businesses are not able to use a relationship in the list that has been notified by another food business. A food business wishing to make a general level health claim based on a relationship that is already on the list must undertake its own systematic review and notify FSANZ of the relationship.
Read more information on the notification process.
Information on establishing food-health relationships for general level health claims is also available.
Who checks nutrition content claims and health claims on labels?
In Australia, agencies in the states and territories are responsible for implementing and enforcing food standards. The Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is responsible for food imported into Australia.
In New Zealand, food standards are enforced by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
Contact details for enforcement agencies in Australia and New Zealand.
Sometimes these agencies will check label claims, other times they respond to issues brought to their attention.
FSANZ acknowledges the Standard has many new elements. We are working closely with enforcement agencies on implementation and enforcement of the new Standard. The Implementation Subcommittee for Food Regulation (ISFR) has provided guidance on how to comply with the Nutrition, Health and Related Claims Standard – see Getting Your Claims Right - a guide to complying with the Nutrition, Health and Related Claims Standard.
FSANZ does not provide advice on compliance with the Code. You may wish to engage a lawyer or consultant for compliance advice.
There are also parts of the Australia Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and the New Zealand Fair Trading Act 1986 that may apply to nutrition content and health claims. Matters that relate to misleading or deceptive practice, including misleading claims, may be considered by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the New Zealand Commerce Commission (NZCC), who administer these acts respectively.