Are the nutrition and health claims on your products up to UK standards?
26 February 2024
Food business operators (FBOs) selling products with nutrition and health claims in the UK must ensure full compliance with both the Great Britain Nutrition and Health Claims Register, and the EU Register of Health Claims (which stems from the assimilated Regulation (EC) No. 1924/2006). Failure to do so may result in the issuance of an Improvement Notice as outlined in the amendment to the Nutrition & Health Claims Regulations, published on February 20, 2024. Continue reading for further details of these changes.
Non-compliant nutrition and health claims
The Nutrition & Health Claims Regulations amendment 2024, published on February 20, 2024, grants local authorities the power to issue Improvement Notices to FBOs for making non-compliant nutrition and health claims on products. The change, implemented by the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC), aims to streamline processes, offering FBOs a chance to take remedial actions. Failure to comply with the Improvement Notice may lead to legal action, including fines and/or imprisonment.
The new Bill amendment will come into force on October 1, 2024.
It is worth noting that Scotland implemented Compliance Notices for non-compliance with Nutrition & Health Claims regulations last year. Wales is following England’s lead, with Northern Ireland expected to eventually adopt similar approach.
Flexing claims on products
FBOs must ensure that the wording they put on a product label aligns with the claims specified in the Registers. It’s not only important for the wording to have the same meaning as the authorised claim, but also crucial that it does not exceed the strength of the authorised language.
For example, ‘Zinc contributes to normal cognitive function’ is the authorised claim. ‘Zinc helps your brain to work normally’ would be permitted because it means the same as the authorised wording. ‘Zinc supercharges your brain’ would result in an Improvement Notice because it is a much stronger statement than the approved wording.
In addition, FBOs should carefully select pictures that accurately imply the claims, for example an image of a brain buzzing with energy would not be allowed as the meaning is stronger than normal cognitive function.
Moreover, FBOs must adhere to the relevant criteria or conditions of use associated with the authorised claims.
Support with labelling compliance
Leatherhead’s UK team of regulatory experts has extensive expertise in evaluating product designs and formulations to ensure compliance with regulatory standards for nutrition and health claims. Whether it’s during concept ideation or product development, we can provide valuable insights to mitigate non-compliance.
Our services include:
- Robust evaluation of product designs and formulations against regulatory requirements, ensuring alignment with nutrition and health claim requirements
- Guidance on crafting precise and compliant wording for nutrition and health claims on packaging labels
If you’re interested in learning more about our services, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].