Claims that refer to:
. a disease, condition, ailment, defect or injury should include a statement explaining how the claimed benefit is achieved. (Eg. high in ‘Z’, diets high in ‘Z’ do X which may reduce the risk of ‘G’ disease);
. the dietary management of a biomarker, condition or disease that may require the supervision of an appropriate health care practitioner, must have an advisory statement to the effect that a health care practitioner’s advice is required.
Where advisory or warning statements in relation to the claim are required, they must appear in close proximity to the claim in the same communication medium.
Where the information about the claim is separated into sections (split claim) the first part of the claim must direct the reader to further information provided elsewhere in the same communication medium.
In a compound claim any part of the claim that falls within a higher claim category results in the totality of the claim falling into that category.
Endorsement Programs that state or imply a nutrition, health, or related claim must comply with these principles and the requirements of the relevant category of claim. They will require a statement to explain why the endorsement has been granted (eg. meets nutrient criteria required by the endorsement program).
Marketing activities that promote charities or non profit organisations (ie. cause-related marketing programs) that relate to disease or health must have a disclaiming statement to ensure they are not interpreted as a nutrition, health or related claim.
Communication to health professionals of a nutrition, health, or related claim about specific food products or food types (eg. milk, meat etc) must comply with these principles and the requirements of the relevant category of claim.
Claims Classification Criteria
The claims classification framework sets out criteria for two levels of claims: general and high.
The categorisation of a claim is based on the degree of promise to the consumer of the claim. That is, the potential benefit to the consumer in consuming that food in preference to other foods and, commensurately, the degree of risk to the consumer (and public health) in following the advice of the claim.
The level of a claim, as determined by the claims classification framework, will determine to what degree the claim is regulated, including the nature of the evidence required for substantiation. Only high level claims will be pre-approved, with approved claims being listed in the standard.
This could be done on a claim-by-claim (i.e. not product-by-product) basis. The standard could also include pre-approved ‘generic’ high level claims which refer to serious diseases or conditions, with consideration given to the Australian Dietary Guidelines or the New Zealand Food & Nutrition Guidelines. Flexibility in wording of claims should be considered, provided the overarching principles and claim pre-requisites are satisfied.
Consideration should be given during the FSANZ standard development process for including the criteria for making each level of claim and any parameters (eg. qualifying and disqualifying criteria, or exclusions for certain categories of food, such as alcohol and baby foods) should be specifically stated in the standard. These parameters will be particularly important to the monitoring and enforcement of nutrient content claims.
General level claims
General level claims are claims where the manufacturer has to make an assessment of the evidence supporting the claim prior to the product going to market, and to hold the evidence (to be produced at the request of enforcement agencies).
General level claims do not reference a serious disease. That is, references to non-serious diseases would be allowed in this category, as would claims that make no reference to a disease at all.
General Level claims are those which:
. describe or indicate the presence or absence of a component in that food (Nutrient Content Claims) (eg. This food is high in calcium); or
. refer to maintenance of good health or normal physiological processes (including normal growth and development, or maintenance or other like functions of the human body) (eg. helps keep you regular as part of a high fibre diet). This includes claims that describe the component and its function in the body (eg. Calcium is good for strong bones and teeth); or
. refer to specific benefits for performance and wellbeing in relation to foods (eg. gives you energy); or
. are whole of diet claims based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines or the New Zealand Food & Nutrition Guidelines which may refer to the relevant benefits as described in the associated Australian Dietary Guideline or New Zealand Food & Nutrition Guideline background papers but do not refer to a serious disease or condition (eg. A healthy, balanced diet that includes dietary fibre from a number of sources is one that can help reduce your risk of constipation); or
. describe how a diet, food or component can modify a function or body structure beyond its role in the normal growth, development and maintenance and other like functions of the human body but do not state or imply a serious disease (eg. exercise and a diet high in calcium and calcium containing foods like product ‘X’ may help give you stronger bones); or
. refer to the potential for a food or component to assist in reducing the risk of or helping to control a non-serious disease or condition (eg. Yoghurt high in X and Y as part of a healthy diet may reduce your risk of stomach upsets).
High level claims
. claims that refer to the potential for a food or component to assist in controlling a serious disease or condition (i.e. those referring to risk reduction or a reduction or improvement in health);
Eg. this food is high in X, which as part of a diet low in saturated fat and high in soluble fibre may reduce your risk of heart disease.
. claims that refer to the potential for a food or component to assist in reducing the risk of, or improving a serious disease or condition;
Eg. This food is low in Y which may reduce your risk of having a stroke through Z.
. are whole of diet claims which refer to a serious disease or condition based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines or the New Zealand Food and Nutrition Guidelines which may refer to the relevant benefits as described in the associated Australian Dietary Guideline or New Zealand Food and Nutrition Guideline Background Papers;
Eg. A healthy diet that may lower your risk of certain kinds of cancer is one that is low in fats and includes fibre from a number of sources including a variety of fruits and vegetables, and wholegrain and bran cereals.
. biomarker1 maintenanceclaims;