Health claims on food products - what should your business consider?

SPRING 2016 FOOD SUPPLEMENTS AVOID A LEGAL DEFICIENCY Make sure youre on the right side of the law when dealing with food supplements NUTRITIONAL LABELLING With the increasing popularity of pills that claim to burn fat, powders that profess to increase muscle mass and a multitude of other food supplements, it is important that retailers ensure they supply products that are both safe and labelled in accordance with UK legislation. What should retailers look out for? ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT USE-BY DATES All food supplements must be labelled as a food supplement. If a product is labelled as a dietary supplement it is noncompliant. Some ingredients used, particularly in US supplements, are not considered suitable for use in the EU in some cases because of safety concerns. The quantity of vitamins A, D or E must be expressed on food supplement labels as g the short unit symbol for microgram. If it is given solely or principally as IU (International Units) then this indicates that the product originates from outside the EU and may not pass EU safety standards. All food supplements must be labelled as a food supplement. If a product is labelled as a dietary supplement, it is non-compliant The active ingredients must be quantied under an appropriate heading, but all ingredients including the active ingredients must be listed under the heading ingredients, in order of weight. If the product lists the vitamins, minerals and other active substances under supplement facts or a similar heading, and does not repeat this information under the ingredients heading, it is non-compliant. If the product carries health claims, these should relate only to those authorised by Regulation 1924/2006 and present on the EU Register on nutrition and health claims. If the supplement has a health claim that is not included on the register, it is not legal to sell the supplement. Some common non-permitted claims that you should look out for include: l Claims that refer to preventing, treating or curing a disease/illness l Health claims that suggest health could be aected by failing to consume the food l Health claims that make reference to the rate or amount of weight loss l Health claims that make reference to recommendations of individual doctors or health professionals For further information on food supplements, see DH guidance or contact your local Trading Standards service. Credit: Stuart Powell Images: PeoGeo / Shutterstock NUTRITIONAL LABELLING From 13 December 2016, manufacturers and packers will need to provide a nutrition declaration (commonly referred to as back of pack nutrition labelling) on most pre-packed foods. This comprises energy value in kilojoules (kj) and kilocalories (kcal) plus the amounts, in grams (g), of fat, saturates, carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt. l Products relating to coffee and chicory l Herbal and fruit infusions, tea or tea extract, which do not l l l l Foods exempted from nutritional labelling are listed below. Exemptions relate mainly to minimally processed foods and those that contribute little nutrition to the diet. Foods that are exempted from the requirement of the mandatory nutrition declaration include: l l l l l l Unprocessed single-ingredient foods l Processed single-ingredient foods that have only been l l l l subjected to maturing Water intended for human consumption A herb, a spice or mixtures thereof Salt and salt substitutes Table-top sweeteners contain added ingredients other than flavourings Food additives Processing aids Food enzymes Gelatine Jam-setting compounds Yeast Chewing gum Food in packaging or containers, the largest surface of which has an area of less than 25cm2 Food directly supplied by the manufacturer, in small quantities, to the final consumer or to local retailers. The Department of Health will be issuing guidance on this final exemption shortly An update on this topic will be given in the summer edition of Trading Standards Business News. ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT USEBY DATES Most foods that are highly perishable such as raw meat/fish and meat/fish/dairy products are required to be marked with a use-by date. After the use-by date has expired, a food is deemed to be unsafe and having it onsale constitutes an offence under TheFood Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013. If retailers have foods with use-by dates that they know cannot be sold in good time, provisions under Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 permit the date to be changed and the food to be frozen if itis appropriate to do so. However, strictguidelines must be adhered to. These include: l Any business wishing to change a use-by date will need to demonstrate that they have the technical knowledge to carry out such activities safely. The new durability date must be established by using appropriate shelf-life testing, and evidence of how the new date mark has been validated as microbiologically safe should be documented l The business must add its name and address to the food label l New instructions for use in relation to storage, defrosting, cooking and shelf-life oncedefrosted need to be provided l Consideration must also be given to the products name or description, to ensure that it is not misleading It must be emphasised that a use-by date cannot be amended in isolation, andall changes should be reflected in theHACCP1-based food safety management system, documenting how the activities have been undertakensafely. The business will alsoassume full responsibility for the newlabelling information, as the food would now be considered to be a different product. If you require further guidance, please contact your local Trading Standards or environmental health service. Footnotes: 1. HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) is a system that helps food business operators look at how they handle food and introduces procedures to make sure the food produced is safe to eat. Source: Food Standards Agency