What are qualified health claims?

Health properties of food

Until 500 generations ago, all humans consumed only wild and unprocessed foods that came from the environment. Many ‘Western’ diseases such as cardiovascular disease and certain cancers are considered to be the result of replacing the hunter-gatherer diet with processed foods.  Recently, the emergence of a multitude of chronic degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and cancer has given rise to ways of defending human health through the adoption of appropriate dietary patterns.  Thus, functional foods, provided they fit within hygiene and balanced nutrition, are put forward as a possible solution to reinforce the strategy of population health prevention.

However, we must be careful with the nomenclature of superfoods. Although the term has been valuable for marketing purposes, no clear scientific definition of the term is available. There is a great degree of descriptive confusion among consumers and academics regarding the difference between so-called functional foods and superfoods.

Nutrition claims examples

Along with flavorings and additives (colorants, sweeteners and miscellaneous), ingredients (enzymes, processing aids and functional ingredients) are the set of substances that make up foods, either as components of the food or as a result of the authorized intentional addition of certain substances that provide technological effects (improvements in the quality, stability and durability of the food), certain beneficial properties for the food or health effects, as is the case with functional ingredients (nutrients and substances with other health properties).

Healthy food concept

The main purpose of the regulation of food labeling is to achieve adequate information for consumers, providing them with the essential data on food products, thus constituting one of the means of food safety control. In this sense, the regulations in relation to food labeling establishes that:

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– It may not attribute to the product therapeutic properties that it does not possess (without prejudice to the provisions applicable to natural mineral waters and foodstuffs intended for a special diet, as is the case of gluten-free foods for coeliacs).

The labeling of foodstuffs, as well as their presentation to consumers and the publication thereof, is subject to general regulation through Royal Decree 1334/1999, which has undergone various amendments in order to incorporate into domestic law the various Directives issued by the European Union, the purpose of which is to provide consumers with adequate information on the ingredients of foodstuffs and other relevant aspects thereof.

Propiedades nutricionales ejemplos

La autorización para el uso de declaraciones de propiedades saludables, es decir, la afirmación de que un alimento contribuye a la mejora de la salud humana, requiere, en la mayoría de los países, haber superado un proceso de evaluación, tanto de su propiedad beneficiosa como de la forma en que se etiquetará en el futuro. Estos procesos tratan de garantizar la veracidad de la declaración, además de su correcta comprensión por parte del consumidor. Este artículo presenta los resultados de un análisis comparativo de las normativas de ambas cuestiones en Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea, a partir de las diferentes categorías precedentes de los estudios de ciencias sociales (o estudios CTS). Se analiza cómo las diferentes estrategias de evaluación utilizadas para justificar las alegaciones de salud conducen a las diferentes formas de comunicar la ciencia implicada en este asunto de salud pública. También se muestran los datos disponibles sobre el cumplimiento efectivo de los objetivos políticos asociados a esta normativa. Este análisis presenta las limitaciones del consumidor para absorber la información científica, precisamente en el caso que, a priori, se consideraría menos tecnocrático y más participativo desde una perspectiva CTS.

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