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  • Writer's pictureMargarida Lindo

Nutrition and Health Claims for food labeling

The voluntary inclusion of nutritional or health claims on food labels can be a good help to encourage consistent and high-quality marketing actions, essential to reach the intended target audience, to lead the customer to the search stages of product or purchase information.




Nutritional claims such as “low fat”, “high in fiber”, “source of vitamin C” and health claims such as “Vitamin D is necessary for normal bone growth and development in children”, “Vitamin C contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system” are optional on the labeling, however, they must comply with the provisions of Regulation (EC) no. 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 20 December, in force since 1 July 2007. This regulation is the legal framework used by food business operators when they wish to highlight the specific beneficial effects of their products, in relation to health and nutrition, on the product label or in their advertising.


The Regulation is also applicable to manufacturing brands and other commercial brands that may be interpreted as nutritional or health claims. However, a trade mark or fancy name appearing on the labelling, presentation or advertising of a food and which could be considered a nutritional or health claim, may be used without being subject to the authorization procedure. Provided for in Regulation (EC) No. 1924/2006, as long as it is accompanied by an associated nutritional or health claim in labelling, presentation or advertising, which complies with the provisions of the regulation. The aim is to ensure that any claim made in the labelling, presentation or advertising of a food in the European Union is clear, accurate and based on scientific evidence. This not only protects consumers, but also promotes innovation and ensures fair competition.


By regulatory definition, in its current wording, a claim is defined as “any message or representation, not mandatory under Community or national legislation, including any pictorial, graphic or symbolic representation, whatever form it takes, which declares , suggest or imply that a food has particular characteristics”.


A Nutritional Claim is defined as any claim that declares, suggests or implies that a food has particular beneficial nutritional properties, related to its energy value, nutrients or other substances.


A Health Claim is defined as any message, scheme or image present on labels or used in marketing or advertising that declares, suggests or implies that certain beneficial health effects may result from the consumption of a certain food or one of its constituents (nutrient, substance). Health claims may refer to the maintenance of body functions, psychological or behavioral functions, the development and health of children and the reduction of disease risks. Only health claims that are identified in the EU health claims register, published in regulations, or that, although not yet authorized, benefit from a specific transitional regime (e.g. plants/plant extracts) are permitted. These can be used until the respective list of authorized claims is published, under the responsibility of food sector operators, and as long as they comply with the Regulation. Only health claims that include the following information on the label are permitted:


  • An indication of the importance of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy way of life;

  • The quantity of food and the method of consumption required to obtain the claimed beneficial effect;

  • If applicable, an observation addressed to people who should avoid consuming the food;

  • An appropriate warning, in the case of products that may pose a risk to health if consumed in excess;

  • Nutritional information on product labeling;


Nutritional and/or health claims must not be false, ambiguous or misleading; they should not raise doubts about the safety and/or nutritional adequacy of other foods; they should not encourage or justify excessive consumption of a given food; must not state, suggest or imply that a balanced and varied diet cannot generally provide adequate amounts of nutrients; They must not refer to changes in organic functions that could raise fears in the consumer or explore these fears, either textually or through pictorial, graphic or symbolic representations.


Do you already use the claims on your labels? Do you have questions regarding the correct use of nutritional and health claims? Talk to us. The Pharmilab`s expert team is ready to help you with techinical issues about your labels.


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