Food business operators are always in search of new and innovative ways how to promote their products. Lately, it seems that good marketing plays an extremely important role also in the food business. So how can a food business operator know which claims can be used on our food products and supplements to convince the customer and not have issues with authorities for false advertising?


Regulatory requirements on the use of health claims on foods

Firstly, let’s take a look at regulatory requirements for the use of health claims. It is important to note that different rules apply in different countries, as you can read in the article written by Kušar A (2021). In this blog, we will take a closer look at the rules for use of health claims on foods in the European Union.


Basically, Regulation EU 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods should be respected.

Regulation EU 1924/2006 describes general principles on all nutrition and health claims, their conditions of use, and restrictions that need to be taken into consideration.


If we concentrate more on health than nutrition claims, there is another Regulation we should have in mind. This is Commission Regulation EU 432/2012 on permitted health claims made on foods. In an annex of this regulation, all permitted health claims are listed. On the list, we can find nutrients, substances, foods, or food categories. They are listed in alphabetical order, together with the applicable claim and conditions of use of the claim. Such nutrients to which health claims apply, are called “health claim carriers”. These are most commonly different vitamins and minerals, while also some other substances can have certain positive impacts and are therefore suitable candidates to become health claim carriers.


Vitamins and minerals as health claim carriers

Since vitamins and minerals play different roles in human health, there are a lot of health claims that apply to each micronutrient. It is useful to check health claims that can be used based on certain nutrients prior to product development, so we know which vitamins and minerals should be considered to be included in the formulation based on the product’s purpose.


Botanicals as health claim carriers

Lately, very popular ingredients of many food supplements are different plants and their derivates, which are considered to have certain beneficial impacts on our health. There are many plants with »healing properties«, that already our grandmothers knew about.

The majority of these herbs are not included in the Regulation EU 432/2012. Does that mean we can not claim their beneficial impacts?

Since botanicals are a huge and complex group, there are many applications for the authorization of new health claims currently on EFSA. The good news is, that we can use those claims, even though they are not authorized yet. They are available in the OpenEFSA portal in the section nutrition.


Application for health claim authorization

What options do food business operators have, when they discover amazing properties of any of the botanicals to which health claims do not apply? They can apply for health claim authorization! In continuation read what is health claim application and how to apply.

Food business operators can submit the application for authorization according to Article 15 of Regulation EU 1924/2006.

The application shall among others include:

  • the nutrient or other substance, or the food or the category of food, in respect of which the health claim is to be made and its particular characteristics
  • a copy of the studies, including, where available, independent, peer-reviewed studies, which have been carried out with regard to the health claim and any other material which is available to demonstrate that the health claim complies with the criteria provided for in this Regulation
  • a copy of other scientific studies which are relevant to that health claim
  • a proposal for the wording of the health claim for which authorization is sought including, as the case may be, specific conditions for the use


PharmaHemp’s Application for health claim authorization

Since we are confident in the beneficial impacts of CBD, we successfully submitted the application to authorize a health claim related to CBD, with the following proposed health claim wording: Cannabidiol (CBD) contributes to the reduction of stress-related anxiety. We are looking forward to receiving feedback from Authorities on the proposed health claim, which we believe is one of the first related to CBD.