Getting Your Claims Right

4. Making a health claim

Page last updated: 21 October 2014

A health claim is any claim that states, suggests or implies that a food or property of food has or may have a health effect. See the glossary on page 45 for definitions of property of food, health claim and health effect.

There are two types of health claims, general level health claims and high level health claims. This document provides guidance on making both types of health claim.

A food-health relationship is the relationship between a food or property of food and a health effect. All health claims require a food-health relationship to be established. A high level health claim must be based on a food-health relationship provided in Schedule 2 of Standard 1.2.7. A food-health relationship for general level health claims can be established in one of two ways:

  • it is listed in Schedule 3 of Standard 1.2.7 or
  • following a process of systematic review as described in Schedule 6 of Standard 1.2.7.

Guidance on establishing a food-health relationship for a general level health claim by systematic review is available on the FSANZ website.

A health claim must not be made on a food that does not meet the NPSC described in Schedule 4 of Standard 1.2.7. This requirement does not apply to foods standardised in Part 2.9 of the Food Standards Code. The method to calculate a food’s nutrient profiling score is described in Schedule 5 of Standard 1.2.7. You can use the FSANZ Nutrient Profiling Scoring Calculator to help you determine if a food meets the NPSC..

A health claim must state the food or the property of food and the specific health effect (derived from the established food-health relationship). If the health effect only applies to a specific sector of the population rather than the whole population this information must be included as part of the health claim.

Dietary context statements must be included with the health claim (paragraph 19(3) (a)). The dietary context statement must state that the health effect must be considered in the context of a healthy diet involving the consumption of a variety of foods and must be appropriate for the claim being made (paragraph 19(3)(a) and subclause 19(4)). In addition, for health claims based on a pre-approved food-health relationship (a relationship described in Schedules 2 or 3), words to the effect of the relevant dietary context statement in Column 4 of those Schedules must also be used. For general level health claims based on a food-health relationship established by following the process of systematic view (Schedule 6), the dietary context statement must be consistent with the conclusions of the systematic review.

There is an exemption from the dietary context statement if the health claim is on a label of a small package (see glossary) (subclause 19(5)).

The food or property of food and the health effect may be presented as a separate, shortened statement in what is called a split health claim. However, the shortened statement must appear on the same label or in the same advertisement as the complete statement that includes all the claim elements required by Standard 1.2.7. An indication of where the complete statement is located must be provided with the shortened statement (clause 20).

If a health claim is made about phytosterols, phytostanols and their esters and it is presented with the advisory statements required by clause 2 of Standard 1.2.3 then a statement that the health effect must be considered in the context of a healthy diet involving the consumption of a variety of foods as part of a dietary context statement is not required (clause 21).