Australia Not Allowing Therapeutic Claims

April 23/Technology News Focus -- According to a study from Australia, "Foods and food components could help prevent or ameliorate many health conditions. Regulation is important in food innovation because it governs the means by which health benefits can be translated into messages for consumers."

"Foods and related health claims are regulated in Australia and New Zealand by a joint agency, Food Standard Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). Currently, the food standards code (Standard 1.1A.2) regulates the use of nutrient content claims and some general health maintenance claims, but it prohibits health claims relating to disease prevention, with the exception of folate and the risk of neural tube defects. The new Nutrition, Health and Related Claims Standard (which is not yet approved) covers nutrition content claims, general-level health claims and high-level health claims. General-level health claims will be permitted in the proposed standard, but scientific substantiation will be required for review upon request. High-level claims (relating to more serious conditions, covering biomarker and risk reduction claims) will require formal evaluation and pre-approval," wrote D. Ghosh and colleagues.

The researchers concluded, "Therapeutic claims will be prohibited in the new regulatory framework."

Ghosh and colleagues published the results of their research in the Australian Journal of Dairy Technology ("Functional food and health claims: regulations in Australia and New Zealand." Australian Journal of Dairy Technology, 2009;64(1 Sp. Iss.):152-154).

For additional information, contact D. Ghosh, 5 Noel St., Wollongong, NSW 2500, Australia.

From the April 27, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition