Ever wondered what you ate was good for you? Local food manufacturers and importers can now carry nutrient specific health claims on the packaging or advertisements of their products. All this is thanks to a recent review by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority.
Done in consultation with the Health Promotion Board, the review on nutrient specific diet-related health claims for qualified food products aims to provide good health advice to consumers. The approved health claims, aligned with the guidelines of major developed countries, also address some of the most common health challenges here.
As part of the review, HPB found the following food constituents most relevant to the health challenges Singaporeans face:
- Calcium and reduced risk of osteoporosis
- Saturated fat, trans fat and increased risk of coronary heart disease
- Wholegrain products, fruits and vegetables and reduced risk of cancer and heart disease
- Sodium and increased risk of hypertension
"Consumers can now make more informed decisions and plan a healthier and balanced diet when selecting food products with health benefits," AVA said. "This will lower the risk of diet-related ailments such as osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease."
Such health claims were disallowed previously due to a lack of evidence linking consumption of specific foods with improved health condition. But this concern faded as more scientific evidence became available to verify the connections claimed. The review was also timely, as it coincided with the global move towards including health advice in food labels and advertisements.
However, only food products which have been approved by HPB to carry the ´Healthier Choice´ symbol can apply to include these health claims. This ensures that the products considered meet the basic health criteria in terms of nutrient content.
There are currently about 2,400 products carrying the ‘Healthier Choice’ symbol on the market now.
To find out more about applying for the use of approve health claims, please visit: http://www.ava.gov.sg/FoodSector/FoodLabelingAdvertisement/.
List of Nutrient Specific Diet-Related Health Claims Allowed