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.


BREXIT - The CAP and BCAP Codes include many rules which seek to reflect significant pieces of EU law or UK law that has been made to implement EU law.

Marketers should be aware that all EU-derived legislation that is in force at the end of the transition period will remain in force after this point unless it is subsequently repealed. CAP and BCAP will continue to consider any changes that might be necessary to the Codes as they receive further information from government, and will make any appropriate changes as soon as they are in a position to do so.  This News Article explains the position further. 

Additionally, following the end of the transition period we understand that changes will be made to legislation relating to nutrition and health claims made on foods.  The Advertising Codes will therefore be updated as soon as possible in 2021 and marketers are advised to familiarise themselves with the relevant guidance and register published by the Government, to which the ASA will have regard from 1 January 2021.   

Marketers who are unsure about the effect of any changes should seek legal advice.

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.


More on