Nutrition content claims and health claims

Nutrition content claims and health claims

(April 2016)

Nutrition content claims and health claims are voluntary statements made by food businesses on labels and in advertising about a food. Standard 1.2.7 sets out the rules for food businesses choosing to make nutrition content claims and health claims.

Nutrition content claims are claims about the content of certain nutrients or substances in a food, such as low in fat or good source of calcium. These claims will need to meet certain criteria set out in the Standard. For example, with a ‘good source of calcium’ claim, the food needs to contain at least the amount of calcium specified in the Standard.

Health claims refer to a relationship between a food and health rather than a statement of content. There are two types of health claims:
  • General level health claims refer to a nutrient or substance in a food, or the food itself, and its effect on health. For example: calcium for healthy bones and teeth. They must not refer to a serious disease or to a biomarker of a serious disease.
  • High level health claims refer to a nutrient or substance in a food and its relationship to a serious disease or to a biomarker of a serious disease. For example: Diets high in calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in people 65 years and over. An example of a biomarker health claim is: Phytosterols may reduce blood cholesterol.

Food businesses making general level health claims are able to base their claims on one of the more than 200 pre-approved food-health relationships in the Standard or self-substantiate a food-health relationship in accordance with detailed requirements set out in the Standard, including notifying FSANZ. See the notification list.

High level health claims must be based on a food-health relationship pre-approved by FSANZ. There are currently 13 pre-approved food-health relationships for high level health claims listed in the Standard.

All health claims are required to be supported by scientific evidence to the same degree of certainty, whether they are pre-approved by FSANZ or self-substantiated by food businesses.

Health claims are only permitted on foods that meet the nutrient profiling scoring criterion (NPSC). For example, health claims will not be allowed on foods high in saturated fat, sugar or salt.

Endorsements that are nutrition content claims or health claims will be permitted, provided the endorsing body meets requirements set out in the Standard.

It is not the role of FSANZ to enforce these requirements. If you have concerns in relation to a particular nutrition content or health claim about a food, you should contact your local state or territory health agency or department. Complaints about nutrition content and health claims in New Zealand should be directed to the Ministry for Primary Industries.  In addition, fair trading laws in Australia and New Zealand require that labels do not misinform through false, misleading or deceptive representations. See the truth in labelling page for further information.

More information

Nutrition content claims and health claims (information for industry)

Standard 1.2.7 – Nutrition, Health and Related Claims

The history of the development of the standard

Health Claims Scientific Advisory Group

High Level Health Claims Committee

Substantiating health claims on food: systematic reviews and Australia’s new labelling standards​

Guide to Nutrition and Health Claims