Claims are defined in Standard 1.1.1 of the Food Standards Code as an express or implied statement, representation, design or information in relation to a food or property of food which is not mandatory in the Code (Standard 1.1.1 – Preliminary Provisions – Application, Interpretation and General Prohibitions).
Standard 1.2.7 regulates the following types of claims:
- nutrition content claims (claims about the presence or absence of certain nutritional properties of food)
- high level health claims (claims that a food or a property of food, has or may have a health effect and refers to a serious disease or biomarker of a serious disease)
- general level health claims (claims that a food or a property of food has or may have a health effect and that are not a high level health claim).
These claims are regulated whether they are made on a label, in advertisements or by way of a third party endorsement e.g. a logo licensing scheme.
Claims that are not regulated by Standard 1.2.7 include those made about non-nutrient characteristics of the food e.g. ‘pure’, ‘fresh’, or ‘natural’ or process claims e.g. ‘pasteurised’ and ‘halal’.
You can find more information about the different types of claims on the FSANZ website.
Restrictions and conditions on making claims under Standard 1.2.7 are outlined below.
2.1 General restrictions
Nutrition content and health claims cannot be made for (Clause 3):
- a food that contains more than 1.15% alcohol by volume, other than a nutrition content claim about energy or carbohydrate content
- an infant formula product.
Nutrition content and health claims must not:
- refer to the prevention, diagnosis, cure or alleviation of a disease, disorder or condition (Clause 7)
- compare a food with a good that is represented in any way to be for therapeutic use; or likely to be taken for therapeutic use, whether because of the way in which the food or substance is presented or for any other reason (Clause 7)
- compare the vitamin or mineral content of a food with another food (Clause 8) unless permitted by the Food Standards Code.
A health claim (and certain nutrition content claims as indicated in Schedule 1 of Standard 1.2.7) must not be made about a food that does not comply with the nutrient profiling scoring criterion (NPSC) (subclause 17(2)). However, special purpose foods (standardised in Part 2.9 of the Food Standards Code) do not need to meet the NPSC for health claims. A guideline on calculating NPSC scores can be found on the FSANZ website.
Standard 1.2.7 does not apply to (Clauses 4 and 5):
- food, other than food in a package, provided to a patient in a hospital or other similar institution
- meals provided to a vulnerable person by a delivered meal organisation
- foods intended for further processing, packaging or labelling before retail sale
- a claim that is expressly permitted by another standard
- a claim about the risks or dangers of alcohol intake or about moderating alcohol intake
- a declaration that is required by the Act as defined in Standard 1.1.1 – see glossary.
2.2 Form of the food (Clause 6)
The requirements for nutrition content claims and health claims must be applied to the appropriate form of the food, as set out in Clause 6. This does not prevent claims being made on foods that someone needs to prepare (e.g. heating or reconstituting) or that may be used with other foods, so long as the claim applies to one of the forms of the food as determined in accordance with the Table to Clause 6. To determine the form of the food you should take into account:
- the information on the label for the food, including the directions for use
- any information provided in an advertisement for the food.
When making a nutrition content or health claim, the form of the food must be stated together with the claim, unless the claim relates to the form of the food as sold (Clause 10 and subclauses 19(3)(b) and 19(6)).
2.3 Claim wording
Standard 1.2.7 does not prescribe the words to be used when making a claim. Any statement or information required by Standard 1.2.7 may be modified if the modification does not alter or contradict the effect of the required statement or information (Clause 9).
2.4 Information to support compliance
Food businesses may wish to maintain documentation to demonstrate that claims made on their food products comply with the conditions and requirements of Standard 1.2.7.
This information may include:
- test results
- documents demonstrating that a product complies with appropriate clauses in Standard 1.2.7 and content in Schedule 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 of Standard 1.2.7
- checklists and templates you have filled out in accordance with due diligence.
2.5 Nutrition Information Panel
Food for retail sale must bear a label setting out all the information prescribed in the Food Standards Code, including a nutrition information panel (NIP), as outlined in Standard 1.2.8 – Nutrition Information Requirements. Exceptions from the requirement to bear a label are in paragraphs 2(1) (a) to (h) of Standard 1.2.1. When a nutrition content or health claim is made about foods exempt from the requirement to bear a label, this exemption no longer applies, and a NIP must be displayed on or in connection with the display of the food or provided to the purchaser on request (subclause 4(3) of Standard 1.2.8).
There are also exemptions for foods that are required to bear a label, to be labelled with a NIP (clause 3 of Standard 1.2.8). However, if a nutrition content or health claim is made about these foods, the exemptions in clause 3 do not apply, and a NIP must be provided on the label (subclause 4(2) of Standard 1.2.8).
Clause 5 of Standard 1.2.8 sets out what is required in a NIP, including the name and the average quantity of any nutrient or biologically active substance that a nutrition content or health claim refers to.
Standard 1.2.8 does exempt food in small packages (see glossary) from having an NIP, but additional labelling requirements must still be met when certain claims are made (subclause 4(4) and clauses 8 and 8A of Standard 1.2.8).