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Using Nutritics to support the use of Health Claims in Europe

Health claims are a useful way to promote the healthfulness of your products and generate new opportunities for your business.
20th Dec 2017

Introduction

European Union rules on nutrition and health claims are established by Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. This Regulation has been applied since the 1st of July 2007


If you make a nutrition or health claim on your product, you must comply with this regulation.
 
The objective of the rules is to ensure that any claim made on a food’s labelling, presentation or advertising in the European Union is clear, accurate and based on scientific evidence. 

What is a Health Claim?

Health claims are statements made on or about food products that highlight a particular health benefit or biological function of a nutrient, substance, food or food category. They can be made on the product label or in its advertising, provided a set of perquisite conditions and exclusions are met. 

Health claims can be a useful way to promote the healthfulness of your products and generate new opportunities for your business. 

Types of Health Claims

There are different types of health claims authorised for use by the European Commission:  

Article 13 - General Function Health Claims  
Article 14.1a - Disease Risk Reduction Claims 
Article 14.1b - Children’s Health and Development Claims 

This blog focuses on Article 13, general function claims. Read on to learn more about Article 13 claims, and see how Nutritics can help you to make claims from your recipe calculations. 

Basic Rules

Foods bearing claims that could mislead consumers are prohibited on the EU market - be aware that general function health claims only relate to the general, healthy population and should only be used on foods that meet the condition of use to make the claim. 

It is important to note: A food can never suggest that it can treat or prevent a disease.

General Function Health Claims

“General function” health claims refer to the role of a nutrient or substance in growth, development and body functions. 

There are a number of general function health claims that have been authorised for use on foods, if the food meets the condition of use to make a nutrition claim for a vitamin or mineral. 

General function claims are regulated under Article 13 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. They have been generally accepted following a scientific evaluation by EFSA.  

EFSA's scientific evaluation helps to ensure that claims made on food labelling and advertising regarding nutrition and health are meaningful and accurate, and can thereby help consumers to make healthier diet choices.  

You will only find general function (Article 13.1) health claims available in Nutritics. These claims do not include those related to child development or health or disease risk reduction. 

General function claims that are available for you in Nutritics should not be used on foods marketed to children. Nor can these claims be used to suggest or imply that a food will prevent, treat or cure a disease. 

If your food meets the conditions of use to make a nutrition claim, [i.e. the food contains at least ‘a source of’[1] the Daily Reference Intake value (RI) [2] for that vitamin or mineral] - then there are certain health claims that can be associated with that amount of the nutrient. 

Examples of common Health Claims that can be made when the associated nutrient is present in the food in the required quantity are: 

‘Copper contributes to the normal function of the immune system’ 
This claim may be used only for food which is at least a source of copper. 

‘Iodine contributes to normal cognitive function’ 
This claim may be used only for food which is at least a source of iodine. 

‘Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones’ 
This claim may be used only for food which is at least a source of vitamin D. 

Warning! - Don’t Exaggerate a Health Claim

If you choose to use a general function claim on your food, it is advisable to stick as close as possible to the authorised wording as to exaggerate the claim is considered a breach of the Regulation. For example, if your food is a source of Vitamin C and you wish to use the authorised claim ‘Vitamin C contributes to the normal function of the immune system’, it is important to maintain the words ‘contributes’ and ‘normal’. You cannot say Vitamin C improves the immune system as this is an exaggeration. 

How Can Nutritics Help with Making General Function Health Claims?

Using Nutritics software, you can easily analyse recipes for over 125 different nutrients. Based on this analysis, the nutrition claims and related general function health claim you are eligible to make will automatically be generated for you. If making a claim, you must also clearly label the amount of the nutrient that the claim relates to on the nutritional panel of the food. With Nutritics, you can create compliant food labels too! 

Nutritics staff can provide expert regulatory advice and are always available to advise on your proposed labels and food products.Nutritics also allows you to analyse costs, suggests changes for recipe reformulation to meet nutrition targets and automatically indicates potential allergens. 

Get Your 7 Day Free Trial of Nutritics HERE!



Notes
  1. ‘Source of’ - 15% of the RI in 100g or 100mls (for foods) or 7.5% of the RI in 100mls (for beverages).
  2. The Daily Reference Intake Value or RI values were previously known as RDAs - they describe the recommended amount of a nutrient that should be consumed in a day.RIs for vitamins and minerals are defined in Annex XIII of EU Regulation 1169/2011.