On-pack claims

Most product packaging contains statements about the product on the packaging, such as 'high in fibre' or 'contains calcium: needed for maintenance of normal bones.'

These claims have now also been brought under EU legislation, meaning products need to meet specific requirements before a claim can be used on pack.

Why nutrition and health claims can be trusted

A nutrition claim is any claim which states, suggests or implies that a food or drink has particular beneficial nutritional properties. These are set out in European legislation and have to be supported by scientific evidence – meaning these claims can be trusted[7].

Food and drink manufacturers can only make nutrition claims if they are from the approved list (an EU-list of claims approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)[9]. and meet the conditions of their usage (e.g. a minimum level of that nutrient within the final product)[8].

Examples of approved nutrition claims include:

Examples of approved nutrition claims

A health claim is a statement about the positive effect a product can have on health. As with nutrition claims, all health claims must be on the approved list before they can be used.

The EFSA approved list of health claims has been published by the European Commission; any additions to this list must undergo a thorough approval process including the submission of a scientific dossier, including evidence, to EFSA for review.

Examples of approved health claims include:

  • Beta-glucans contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels
  • Calcium is needed for the maintenance of normal bones
  • Folate contributes to maternal tissue growth during pregnancy
  • Iron contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue

Where nutrition or health claims make reference to a specific ingredient or nutrient (i.e. calcium, vitamin D or iron), that nutrient must then be displayed in the mandatory nutritional information about a product (usually displayed as a table on the back or side of packaging). It will also typically need to show the % reference intake (RI) of that nutrient which the product provides, either per 100g/ml or for a specific portion.

Last reviewed: 11 Dec 2014