Nutrition and Health Claims

Policy Position

FDF supports in principle Regulation (EC) 1924/2006 which harmonises the use of scientifically substantiated nutrition and health claims and enables consumers to make informed and meaningful choices. However the strict nature of the conditions for making claims could restrict product innovation as companies might not invest in R&D if they cannot communicate the benefits of a new product to consumers.



Regulation (EC) 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods was adopted on 20 December 2006 and came into effect on 1 July 2007, although a number of the provisions are subject to transitional measures up to 2022 for trademarks. The Regulation:

  • sets out general principles and conditions for all claims including the provision for the EC to establish nutrient profiles for foods bearing claims (Article 4);
  • lists authorised nutrition claims in the Annex;
  • provides for a EC list of generally accepted health claims (Article 13.1);
  • provides for a pre-market approval system for:
    • claims based on ‘new’ science and/or proprietary data (Article 13.5); and
    • disease risk reduction and children’s health (Article 14).

Nutrient profiles would restrict the use of claims on products which contain high levels of fats, sugars and salt – if a product fails one of the nutrient profiles then the product will not be allowed to bear any health claim. A nutrition claim will be permitted provided that a claim about the failing nutrient is displayed with equal prominence on the label.

A DG Sanco (now DG Sante) proposal went through interservice consultation in mid-February 2009, but it was heavily criticised and the Commission President intervened. Discussions to started again in January 2011, but these were further delayed due to the difficulty in reaching agreement on the levels of fat, salt and sugar, the product categories and the exemptions. Discussions were expected to start again in 2012 but were further delayed.

In 2016 the Commission began a partial evaluation of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on food with regard to: a). nutrient profiles and b). health claims made on plants and their preparations (botanicals) only. In April 2016, the European Parliament voted in favour of asking the European Commission to review the scientific basis of the health and nutritional claims legislation and, if appropriate, to delete the concept of nutrient profiles. The Commission will need to take the Parliaments view into account, when it writes its final report of this evaluation, which is expected by the end of 2017.

Nutrition claims will only be permitted if they are listed in the Annex to the Regulation. The Annex has been amended to include the five fatty acid claims (source of omega-3 fatty acids, high omega 3 fatty-acids, high monounsaturated fat, high polyunsaturated fat and high unsaturated fat) and further amended to include the claim 'No Added Sodium/Salt' and to amend the conditions of use for the Reduced [Name of the Nutrient] claim.

For Article 13.1 health claims a list of permitted claims (other than botanicals and claims for which additional data is currently being assessed) has been drawn up by the EC based on advice from EFSA.

The long awaited list has been published in the Community Register on the Commission website along with the list of non-authorised claims. Non-authorised claims were required to be removed from the market by 13 December 2012. FDF however reached agreement with the Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) Enforcement Group on taking a pragmatic approach to the sell-through of products bearing non-permitted Article 13.1 health claims after 14 December 2012, taking into account steps taken by business to minimise stocks/labels and the shelf life of product.

Any additions of claims to the Article 13.1 list based on newly developed scientific evidence and/or which include a request for the protection of proprietary data (Article 13.5) are approved on a case by case basis following the submission of a scientific dossier to EFSA. Seven health claims from the so-called “on hold” claims have subsequently been added to the list of authorised health claims under Regulation (EU) No 535/2013 and Regulation (EU) No 1018/2013. Article 14 health claims, referring to the reduction of a risk factor in the development of a disease and health claims referring to children's development and health, are the subject of separate approval on a case by case basis, following the submission of a scientific dossier to EFSA.


Last reviewed: 06 May 2016