Policy Principles The policy principles endorsed by Australian New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (ANZFRMC) for nutrition, health and related claims for food provide that any intervention by government should:
enable the responsible use of scientifically valid nutrient, health and related claims;
support government, community and industry initiatives that promote healthy food choices by the population;
be consistent with and complement Australian and New Zealand national policies and legislation including those relating to nutrition and health promotion, fair trading, industry growth and international trade and innovation;
be cost effective overall, not more trade restrictive than necessary and comply with Australia’s and New Zealand’s obligations under the WTO Agreements;
contain a process of substantiation which aligns levels of scientific evidence with the level of claims along the theoretical continuum of claims, and at minimum costs to the community;
draw on the best elements of international regulatory systems for nutrient, health and related claims and be responsive to future trends and developments;
provide for collaborative action among enforcement agencies, industry and consumers to optimise educational resources; and
allow for effective monitoring and appropriate enforcement.
The following features of any regulatory system for health, nutrition and related claims are also considered desirable. The system should:
favour pre-market approval rather than post-market reaction;
promote a partnership between consumers, governments and industry in the delivery and responsible use of nutrition, health and related claims which protects consumers from false and misleading information that may result in distorted diets which harm health and increase health inequalities; and
allow for all transition issues to be clearly identified and steps taken to justify and to minimise costs of change and transition.
Claim Pre-requisites Every health claim made must comply with the following, overarching policy principles, regardless of their claim classification level.
The overarching policy principles are:
Claims can be made providing:
. the food and/or component is safe for consumption in recommended quantities as part of the total diet;
. all requirements contained in Food Standards in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code are met;
. the claims have been scientifically substantiated;
. there is enough of the specified component to achieve the claimed benefit when consumed as directed;
. the eligibility criteria, including qualifying and/or disqualifying criteria (and any excluded categories of foods, such as alcohol and infant foods), are complied with;
. the claim is socially responsible and does not promote irresponsible food consumption patterns.
Except where permitted by the Food Standards Code, claims that a food or component of a food or diet can prevent, diagnose, cure or alleviate a disease, condition, ailment, defect or injury in humans would be considered therapeutic claims and are not permitted (eg. eating this food protects you from getting ‘Q’ disease).
Claims that a food or component:
. influences performance and wellbeing;
. manages, influences, inhibits, or modifies a physiological process;
. reduces the risk of a disease, condition, ailment, defect, or injury;
may only be made in the context of the appropriate total diet (that must be described) (eg. This food is high in ‘S’ that may help reduce your risk of ‘G’ disease. People with ‘G’ disease should eat a varied diet low in ‘A’ & ‘B’ and high in ‘S’, ‘X’ & ‘Y’. Eg. This food contains ‘X’ which may improve ‘Y’ when eaten as part of a varied diet low in ‘A’ & ‘B’ and high in ‘X’ & ‘C’).
Claims about a food or component can describe a health benefit for the population but must not:
. imply or state a universal or guaranteed benefit for all individuals, except where permitted by the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code;
. imply or state a health benefit for the population if the claimed benefit applies only to a particular subgroup of the population, unless the population subgroup is stated;
. lead a consumer to self-diagnose or self-manage a condition or disease that should be medically diagnosed and/or managed;
. encourage over-consumption of single foods or ingredients;