Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.


The rules on claims that can be made in marketing communications for foods (including beverages and food supplements) have changed dramatically over the last few years. This article provides a brief overview of the key points. Please see Food: General for more information about the background to Section 15 and the specific AdviceOnline articles for the relevant rulings and more detailed guidance.

“Nutrition” claims refer to the nutritional benefit of a food and must comply with the criteria set out in the Annex (rule 15.1.1). For more information, see Food: Nutrition claims.

“Health” claims are those which refer to a relationship between a food or ingredient and health. Health claims may only be made if they are listed as authorised in the EU register (rule 15.1.1). For more information and guidance on whether you can "flex" the wording of health claims, see Food: Health Claims.

Health claims include slimming and weight loss claims. See Weight control: Food and Food Supplements.

“General health” claims refer to the general benefits of a nutrient or food for overall good health and must be accompanied by a specific health claim (rule 15.2). For more information, see Food: General Health Claims.

Authorised “reduction of disease risk” claims are the only types of claim referring to a disease which can be made for a food product (rule 15.6). For more information, see Food: Reduction of disease risk claims and Food: Cholesterol claims.

Ads which refer to government health messages but do not make explicit nutrition or health claims are not covered by rules 15.1 or 15.1.1 and are dealt with under Section 3. An example of a government health message is the recommendation that people eat five portions of fruit or vegetables a day. See Food: 5 a day claims.


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