Nutrition and health claims used in the labelling, presentation or advertising of foodstuffs are regulated by the Regulation (EC) No. 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on nutrition and health claims made on foods (Regulation on nutrition and health claims).
The Regulation on nutrition and health claims defines the conditions on which foodstuffs may be promoted with nutrition and health claims and consequently determines common rules and approval procedures for the use of such claims in all EU states.
- States, suggests or implies that a food has particular beneficial nutritional properties.
- Is a voluntary presentation or description, not mandatory under any legislation.
- In addition to text, can also be a pictorial, graphic or symbolic representation.
- Can also be a trade mark, brand name or fancy name.
Nutrition claim means a claim that refers to the beneficial nutritional content of the food. For example, "contains calcium".
Health claim means a claim that refers to a relationship between a food and health. For example, "Calcium is necessary for normal growth and development of children's bones".
Finnish Food Authority does not pre-authorise claims or products
The starting point for the use of health claims is that claims cannot be used until the scientific substantiation for the claim has been approved.
The European Food Safety Authority EFSA assesses the scientific substantiation for health claims and the wording of the claim. After discussions between the Commission and the member states the claim is either authorised or rejected under a Commission Regulation. Finnish Food Authority acts as the national competent authority in Finland and forwards the claim applications to EFSA for assessment.
Finnish Food Authority powers are defined in Section 30 of the Food Act (23/2006). Finnish Food Authority powers do not include authorisation of foods or their labelling before they are placed on the market. Consequently Finnish Food Authority does not have the right to pre-authorise products or claims made in respect of products. Instead, pursuant to Section 9 of the Administrative Procedure Act (434/2003), Finnish Food Authority shall provide, within the limits of its authority, advice and guidance to operators in the food sector on compliance with food regulations.