V. HEALTH CLAIMS
Under Section 40 of the Food Act BE 2522 anyone is prohibited to make false or deceptive indications/advertisement regarding the quality, usefulness of a food.
Any person intends to make health claim of food or food ingredients shall prior apply for health claim assessment to the FDA and shall follow criteria and condition of application for health claim assessment and criteria for advertisement permission. More details on the procedure and documentation requirements can be found in the Public Manual on “Requesting for assessment of health claim“.
A health claim means presentation of picture, photograph, invented design, mark, trade mark, or any texts on label relates to food, food ingredients or nutrients directly or indirectly relevant to health. Three types of claims are distinguished:
(i) Nutrient function claims: mean presentations of properties or benefits that describe the physiological role of the nutrient in growth, development and normal functions of the body. Nutrient function claims are only allowed if the food corresponds with the indicated nutritional limits per serving or per 100 gram. The list of permitted nutrient function claims is included under the Announcement of the Food and Drug Administration Re: Declaration of Nutrient Function Claim. Moreover the Announcement requires the statement “should eat a variety of 5 food groups in an appropriate proportion on a regular basis” is included on the label.
(ii) Other function claims mean presentations of properties or benefits that describe specific beneficial effects of the consumption of foods or their constituents, in the context of the total diet on normal functions or biological activities of the body; such claims relate to a positive contribution to health or to the improvement of a function or to modifying or preserving health.
(iii) Reduction of disease risk claims mean presentations of properties or benefits relating the consumption of a food or food constituents, in the context of the total diet, to the risk reduction of developing a disease or health-related condition.
As a general rule ”The claimed benefit should arise from the consumption of a reasonable quantity of the food or food constituents in the context of a healthy diet and shall not depend on benefit from consumption together with other food although it is normal practice or having intention to consume together such as breakfast cereal is consumed with milk”.
Moreover, the labelling of health claims should comply with the conditions provided in the advertisement permission and include at least the following particulars:
(i) The amount of claimed nutrients or their constituents;
(ii) Target group (if any);
(iii) Instruction for use the food to obtain the claimed benefit ;
(iv) Recommendation to vulnerable groups or groups who need to avoid such food (if any);
(v) Maximum safe intake of the food or constituents (where necessary
(vi) A statement as “should routinely intake varieties of 5 food categories in an appropriate amount” and “no effect on relieve, cure or prevent diseases”.
The inclusion of health claims also requires that the claims are based on relevant and available evidence on the cause effect relationship. Depending on the type of claim, the documentation requirement are different as is set out in the Manual on Requesting for assessment of health claim.