ABC nutritional indications

0
15

Increasingly, nutrition claims, so-called nutrition claims, are being read in food labels and advertisements. However, not all of the information you see complies with current regulations. Next, the ABCs.

Nutrition claims, rules in EU

The so-called.
nutrition claims
– i.e., nutrition claims offered in commercial information relating to food products-are regulated, in Europe, by Regulation (EC) No. 1924/06.

According to the aforementioned regulation, the following are defined as.

Nutrition claim‘ means any claim that states, suggests or implies that a food has particular beneficial nutritional properties, due:

(a) to the energy (caloric value) it contributes, contributes at a reduced or increased rate, or does not contribute, and/or

(b) to the nutrients or other substances it contains, contains in reduced or increased proportions, or does not contain.‘ (1)

The only nutrition claims allowed in the whole of Europe are those stipulated in theNutrition and Health Claims (NHC) Annex. Subject to the requirements and conditions strictly stipulated therein, which pertain to both energy, nutrient and micronutrient (e.g., vitamins and minerals) contents and reporting methods. (2)

Nutrition claims, conditions for use

Among the various nutritional claims allowed, we focus on those that-in the general perception of consumers-are more or less directly associated with cardiovascular health.

The generally recognized diets as ‘healthy’ – from the Mediterranean diet to the Nordic Diet, up to the Healthy Eating Index – are, moreover, characterized by moderate sugar intake, high fiber content and low saturated fat content. With emphasis on salt and controlling the balance between energy consumed and energy intake (

calories



).

The claims related to ‘good fats’ (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, unsaturated, Omega3 have already been considered in the previous article). Below are the other


nutrition claims




Of greatest importance.




‘ Low-calorie



The claim that a food is low in calories, ‘low in calories,’ and any other claim of similar meaning are allowed only when the product does not express an energy of more than 40 kcal (170 kJ)/100 g for solids, 20 kcal (80 kJ)/100 ml for liquids. For table sweeteners, the limit of 4 kcal (17kJ)/unit dose (equivalent to one teaspoon of sugar) applies.




A


reduced calorie content



A claim that a food is reduced in calories and any other claim of equal significance are allowed only if the energy value is reduced by at least 30 percent. Using as a benchmark the average of the best-selling products on the market that belong to the same commodity category, please note, and not the ‘previous recipe‘. There is also a requirement to specify the characteristics that cause a reduction in the total energy value of the food.




‘ No calories



The words ‘calorie-free‘ and any similar communication are subject to the condition that the beverage does not express more than 4 kcal (17 kJ)/100 ml. For table sweeteners, the limit of 0.4 kcal (1.7kJ)/unit dose (equivalent to one teaspoon of sugar) applies.




‘ Low-fat



The claim that a food is low in fat, ‘few fats‘ and any other information of similar significance to the consumer are allowed only if the product contains no more than 3 g of fat per 100 g for solids or 1.5 g of fat per 100 ml for liquids. In the case of semi-skimmed milk, we refer to 1.8 g of fat per 100 ml.




‘ Fat-free



The ‘fat-free’ claim, like similar ones, is allowed when fat content in the food does not exceed 0.5 g per 100 g/ml. Note well that wording such as ‘x% fat-free‘ is prohibited instead.




Low in saturated fat



Low saturatedfat‘, ‘low saturated fat‘ and similar claims can be used when the sum of saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids in the product does not exceed 1.5 g/100 g for solids or 0.75 g/100 ml for liquids. In either case, the sum of saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids cannot exceed 10 percent of the average recommended energy intake (2000 kcal/day), however.

By subsequent regulations (EC reg. 1047 and 1048/2008), the Commission also ruled that ‘The claim “reduced in saturated fat” and any other claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer is allowed only:

(a) whether the sum of saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids in the product bearing the claim is at least 30 percent less than the sum of saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids in a similar product; and

(b) whether thetrans fatty acid content of the product bearing the claim is equal to or less than that traceable in a similar product.’




Without



saturated fats
i



A claim that a food is saturated fat-free and any other claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer are allowed only if the sum of saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids does not exceed 0.1 g saturated fat per 100 g or 100 ml.




Low in


sugars



A claim that a food is low in sugars and any other claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer are allowed only if the product contains no more than 5 g of sugars per 100 g for solids or 2.5 g of sugars per 100 ml for liquids.

In subsequent regulations (EC reg. 1047/08 and 1048/2008), the Commission also stipulated that.


The claim “at reduced sugar content’ and any other claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer shall be allowed only if the amount of energy of the product bearing the claim is equal to or less than the amount of energy of a similar product‘.




‘ Sugar-free



A claim that a food is sugar-free and any other claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer are allowed only if the product contains no more than 0.5 g of sugar per 100 g/ml.




Without


added sugars





The claim ‘no added sugars‘ and any other equivalent wording postulates that no mono- or disaccharides or other food products used for their sweetening properties (e.g., honey, fruit concentrates) have been added to the food recipe. If the food naturally contains sugars, the label should include the note ‘naturally contains sugars‘.


Low in

sodium

/

salt

The claimlow sodium/salt‘ and the like are allowed if the product contains no more than 0.12 g of sodium, or an equivalent value of salt, per 100 g/ml. For waters other than natural mineral waters (which fall under the scope of Directive 80/777/EEC), this value shall not exceed 2 mg of sodium per 100 ml.




Low sodium/salt content



The claim ‘very low sodium/salt‘ can legitimately come where the sodium content in the food is 0.04 g, or equivalent salt, per 100 g/ml or less. Such a claim is not allowed on labels of natural mineral waters or other waters.




‘ Sodium/salt-free



The nutrition claim ‘sodium-free’ or ‘salt-free’ is subject to the condition that the sodium content of the food does not exceed 0.005 g, or the equivalent in salt, per 100 g.

By subsequent regulations (EC reg. 1047 and 1048/2008), the Commission introduced an additional nutrition claim:


Sodium-free/

added salt

The claim ‘no sodium/salt added‘ is allowed where-in the recipe of the food or beverage-no sodium, salt, or any other ingredient containing these substances (e.g., sodium glutamate) has been added. The sodium content in the product must in no case exceed 0.12 g-or equivalent salt value-per 100 g/ml.




Source of


fibers



Claims such as ‘source of fiber‘ or ‘contains fiber‘ postulate the presence in the food of at least 3 g of fiber per 100 g, or at least 1.5 g of fiber per 100 kcal.




High in fiber



The claimshighin fiber’,‘rich in fiber‘ and others of equal significance to the consumer are allowed only if the product contains at least 6 g of fiber per 100 g, or at least 3 g of fiber per 100 kcal.




At a reduced rate of [nome della sostanza nutritiva]





An indication that the content of one or more nutrients is ‘




reduced




‘, ‘




less


‘ and any other wording of that magnitude are legitimate only where the reduction in nutrient indicated is at least 30 percent. Again, as with all assumptions of claim nutritional comparative type, referring to the average of the best-selling foods in the target market. (3) Since, conversely, the comparison with the ‘previous recipe could not be accepted nor with other references from the same operator.

Where the reduction refers to one or more micronutrients (e.g., vitamins and minerals), a 10% difference from the reference values in reg. EU 1169/11 (All. XIII, Part A).

For sodium and salt, the difference cannot be less than 25% from the average.




Light/light



Nutrition claims such as ‘light,’ ‘light‘ or similar are subject to the same conditions set for the term ‘reduced.’ Such wording must also come with a specification of the characteristics that make the product ‘light‘ or ‘light‘ (e.g., ‘light in fat/sugar/calories‘).

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) See reg. EC 1924/06, Article 2.2.4

(2) V. reg. EC 1924/06 as amended. Testo consolidato su http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/IT/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:02006R1924-20141213&qid=1527195264839&from=EN

(3) See reg. EC 1924/06 as amended, Article 9