Health and nutrition claims

Health and nutrition content claims are voluntary statements made by food businesses on labels and in advertising about the health benefits of the food and need to meet the criteria set out in the Food Standards Code.

Health claims refer to a relationship between a food and health. They link a particular nutrient or substance in the food with an effect on health, or to a serious disease, or biomarker of a serious disease.

Nutrition content claims are about certain nutrients or substances in a food, such as ‘low in fat’ or ‘good source of calcium’.

Health claims

Health claims refer to a relationship between a food and it's health benefits, rather than a statement of content. There are two types of health claims:

  1. General level: this refers to a nutrient or substance in a food and its effect on a health function, such as ‘Fibre helps keep you regular’. General health claims are prohibited from referring to a serious disease or biomarker of a serious disease.
     
  2. High level: this refers to a nutrient or substance in a food and its relationship to a serious disease or a biomarker of a serious disease, such as ‘Diets high in calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in people 65 years of age and over’.

High level health claims must be based on a food-health relationship pre-approved by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

All health claims must be supported by scientific evidence, whether based on a FSANZ pre-approved claim or can be proven by the food business.

Health claims are only permitted on foods that meet the Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion, meaning claims are restricted to foods which may support overall health.

From January 2016, food businesses must comply with criteria set out in Standard 1.2.7 of the Food Standards Code relating to health claims. The Standard contains around 200 pre-approved food–health relationships that any health claim must comply with.

Nutrition content claims

Nutrition content claims are claims about the content of certain nutrients or substances in a food, such as ‘low in fat’.

From January 2016, food businesses must comply with criteria set out in Standard 1.2.7 of the Food Standard Code relating to nutrient content claims. However, there is an exception for nutrition content claims about dietary fibre, where food businesses have until 18 January 2017 before they need to comply. See nutrition content claims about dietary fibre.