We have extensive experience ensuring compliance of nutrition and health claims made on foods. We help our clients achieve compliance, make optimal use of the available possibilities under the Regulation and prepare, file and coordinate applications for new health claims. Our work in this area is highly recognized, not only by our clients but also by the EU institutions. Our experience in this field includes working with one of the world’s leading dairy products manufacturer in their high-profile Article 13(5) and 14 applications
HEALTH & NUTRITION claims
The use of nutrition and health claims is harmonized under Regulation 1924/2006. The Regulation establishes when and how information on particular beneficial nutritional properties of a food and on the relationship between a food and health can be communicated to consumers. The rules apply to any voluntary type of message in the labelling, presentation and advertising of foods, whether in written, pictorial, graphic or symbolic.
We assisted a food sector association in advocating a legal policy revision by the European Commission in relation to health claims
Nutrition claims are claims that state, suggest or imply that a food has particular beneficial nutritional properties. Examples of nutrition claims are "high fibre", "contains vitamin C" or "light".
Only the authorized nutrition claims listed in the Annex of Regulation 1924/2006 may be used, provided that the conditions of use are met.
Health claims are claims that state, suggest or imply that a relationship exists between a food category, a food or one of its constituents and health. The authorized health claims and their conditions of use can be found in the EU Register on nutrition and health claims.
Examples of health claims are "Vitamin C contributes to the normal function of the immune system" and "Essential fatty acids are needed for normal growth and development of children".
For botanical substances, there is in addition the possibility to use the so-called "on hold" claims, whose evaluation by the EFSA or whose consideration by the Commission has not yet been completed. Those claims can be used, provided that they comply with Regulation 1924/2006 and with existing national provisions.
Certain names can benefit from a (partial) exemption from the rules of Regulation 1924/2006, provided that the conditions are met. Examples are trademarks, brand names and fancy names, as well as generic descriptors (denominations) which have traditionally been used to indicate a particularity of a class of foods or beverages. For the latter, there is a specific application procedure to obtain a derogation allowing the use of the denomination without an accompanying related claim.
The wording of nutrition and health claims does not have to be exactly that of the authorized claim. A certain degree of flexibility is allowed, as long as the used claim has the same meaning for the consumer as the authorized claim. The flexibility principle allows food business operators to personalize their claims and use more marketing-oriented formulations.
Regulation 1924/2006 lays down several general principles for the use of nutrition and health claims. However, the use of nutrition and health claims should also comply with the rules on voluntary food information in Regulation 1169/2011 on food information to consumers. For example, it is not allowed to claim that a food possesses special characteristics, when in fact all similar foods possess such characteristics.
APPLICATIONS FOR NEW HEALTH CLAIMS
Regulation 1924/2006 provides several procedures for the authorization of new health claims. Application dossiers should specify the food or food ingredient for which the application is made and provide solid scientific substantiation of the claimed health benefit.
A particularly interesting possibility is the request for the protection of proprietary data. This allows for restriction of the use of the claim in favour of the applicant during five years, effectively providing the food business operator a monopoly on the use of his claim.