Guidelines and conditions for use of health claims in Denmark
AbstractA working group was established by the Danish Food Administration to propose guidelines and conditions for the use of health claims on foods. This article is an overview of the proposal from the working group. The scientific evidence behind a health claim must be based on a systematic review of all scientific publications with relevance for the claim in question. Three requirements must always be fulfilled: 1) the health claim must be based on the total scientific evidence; 2) the health claim must be based on experiments on human subjects and be in accordance with the results of these experiments; and 3) consensus with respect to the scientific documentation must be reached among qualified experts. The designs of human research can be ranked due to their strength of scientific proof. Health claims should always have their basis in high-ranking scientific evidence. Often it is also required to know the mechanism (s) of the claimed effect, the minimum and maximum intake of the food and the frequency of its use to obtain the effect, and whether the effect is relevant only for a subset of the population. The report gives a number of examples of fictive health claims and their scientific requirements. The report states several general requirements for the use of health claims, which must be fulfilled, to secure that consumers are not mislead, and principal requirements for contents of fat, sugar and salt in foods that can carry a claim. Finally, suggestions for the wording of three claims are given, based on the opinions from expert groups. Key words: Health claims, functional foods, legislation, scientific assessment
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