General, non-specific statements
According to Article 10(3) of the Claims Regulation, references to general, nonspecific benefits of the nutrient or food for overall good health or health-related wellbeing may only be made if accompanied by a specific health claim included in the lists provided for in Article 13 or 14.
- In Evira's view, statements such as "for muscles", "good to heart", "a friend of bones", "heart friendly", "wellbeing to your stomach", "superfood" or "health chocolate" are general, non-specific references.
- They shall be accompanied by an authorised health claim that specifies the effect on health.
"Next to" or "following"
Pursuant to the European Commission's implementing decision (2013/63/EU) adopting guidelines for the implementation of Article 10 of the Claims Regulation, an authorised health claim accompanying the statement making reference to general non-specific health benefits should be made "next to" or "following" such statement.
In Evira's opinion, the condition "next to" or "following" is fulfilled when the authorised health claim appears in the same field of vision as the general, non-specific statement.
- Article 2.2(k) in Food Information Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 defines "field of vision" as all the surfaces of a package that can be read from a single viewing point. In packages that are rectangular or box-like in shape, the general statement and the authorised health claim shall appear on the same side of the package. In cylindrical packages and bottles they shall appear in a way that makes it possible for the consumer to see both the general statement and the authorised health claim at a glance.
The general statement and the authorised health claim may also be placed on different sides of the package if they are linked together with e.g. an asterisk (*). However, the consumer shall be able to easily and readily link them together and thus understand the precise benefit offered by the general health statement.
Authorised health claims shall be easy for the consumer to notice and see before making the purchasing decision. This means that it is not possible to make a general statement on the package and only describe the specific health benefit on the website, for example. Similarly, if a general statement is used in an advertisement in print, television or radio, the specific authorised health claim shall also appear in some point of the advertisement.