Supporting Food Health Claims in New Zealand's Regulatory Environment
It is critical that the food industry has science-based tools to guide health claims and support consumers in making healthier food choices. Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) now allows health claims on food products meeting certain criteria, such as nutrient content. Food business operators (FBOs) can utilise a range of pre-approved general or high-level health claims or self-substantiate new health claims. There is a wealth of food composition data and scientific information on the health benefits of foods that might assist FBOs wanting to make such claims. However, it can be hard for the FBOs to navigate both regulations and the science in order to deliver meaningful health claims to their customers. Therefore, one aim has been to bring together the science, regulatory considerations and consumer perspectives and provide tools to help FBOs making health claims. The New Zealand Food Composition Database website has been redeveloped to allow easier application of nutrition content claims and scientists at the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited (Plant & Food Research), with the New Zealand Ministry of Health, have re-worded antioxidant claims to make them compliant with existing regulations, developed products to which pre-approved health claims may be applied, and assisted in the compilation of self-substantiation dossiers for new health claims.