Nutrition and health claims
Nutrition and health claims used in the labelling, presentation or advertising of foodstuffs are regulated by Regulation (EC) No. 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council (issued on 20 December 2006) on nutrition and health claims made on foods (Regulation on nutrition and health claims).
The Regulation on nutrition and health claims defines the conditions on which foodstuffs may be promoted with nutrition and health claims and consequently determines common rules and approval procedures for the use of such claims in all EU states.
- states, suggests or implies that a food has particular beneficial nutritional properties.
- is a voluntary presentation or description, not mandatory under any legislation.
- in addition to text, can also be a pictorial, graphic or symbolic representation.
- can also be a trade mark, brand name or fancy name.
Nutrition claim means a claim that refers to the beneficial nutritional content of the food. For example, "contains calcium".
Health claim means a claim that refers to a relationship between a food and health. For example, "Calcium is necessary for normal growth and development of children's bones".
A link to the guidance document of the European Commission for the interpretation of the implementation of the Regulation on nutrition and health claims is provided in the right-hand side column.
Evira does not pre-authorise claims or products
The starting point for the use of health claims is that claims cannot be used until the scientific substantiation for the claim has been approved.
The European Food Safety Authority EFSA assesses the scientific substantiation for health claims and the wording of the claim. After discussions between the Commission and the member states the claim is either authorised or rejected under a Commission Regulation. Evira acts as the national competent authority in Finland and forwards the claim applications to EFSA for assessment.
Evira's authority is stipulated in Section 30 of the Food Act (23/2006). Evira's authority does not encompass the authorisation of foods or their labelling prior to them being placed on the market. Consequently Evira does not have the right to pre-authorise products or claims used on them. Instead, pursuant to Section 9 of the Administrative Procedure Act (434/2003), Evira shall provide within the limits of its authority advice and guidance to operators in the food sector on compliance with food regulations.
The Regulation on nutrition and health claims defines transition periods of various types for many of the changes. A link to Evira's guidelines regarding the transition periods of the Regulation on nutrition and health claims is provided in the right-hand side column.