Making and substantiating a health claim

Food products can carry health claims to advertise their health benefits. Find out what you must do to make a health claim.

Requirements for making a health claim

Foods must meet certain nutrition requirements to carry a health claim. There are 2 ways you can make a general level health claim. You can:

  • make a claim based on a pre-approved food-health relationship
  • self-substantiate a claim by providing scientific evidence.

For high level health claims you can only use a pre-approved claim.

Making a pre-approved claim

Most health claims will be based on a pre-approved food-health relationship. The Food Standards Code lists over 200 general level health claims. A smaller number of high level claims are in part five of Schedule 4. For each claim, the code tells you the requirements your food must meet.

Schedule 4 – Nutrition, health and related claims

Self-substantiating a general level health claim

If you identify a food-health relationship that has not been pre-approved, you can self-substantiate a claim. You can only self-substantiate for general level health claims. Those are claims that do not relate to diseases or serious illnesses.

Find out about the difference between general level and high level health claims

You can't self-substantiate a high level health claim.

How to self-substantiate a general level claim

To self-substantiate your health claim, you need a large amount of scientific evidence to back it up. You will need to meet the requirements of schedule 6 of the Food Standards Code.

Schedule 6: Required elements of a systematic review – Australian Federal Register of Legislation

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has provided a guidance document to help you. 

Guidance on how to self-substantiate a food health claim [PDF, 413 KB]

Supplemented foods

If you are self-substantiating a claim for a supplemented food, you need to fill out an FA5 form for MPI. This is a requirement of the NZ Supplemented Food Standard 2016.

Supplemented food and dietary supplements

How self-substantiated general level health claims are evaluated

MPI evaluates the scientific evidence provided for self-substantiated health claims made by New Zealand companies. The evaluation is confidential.

notification of a self-substantiated general level health claim needs to come directly to MPI via an FA5 form as per the requirements of the NZ Supplemented Food Standard 2016.

What to expect: A step-by-step guide for food businesses self-substantiating a health claim [PDF, 191 KB]

Guidance documents for making a health claim

Getting your claims right: A guide to complying with the Australia NZ Food Standards Code  

Regulations for making a claim

All health claims must comply with Standard 1.2.7.

Health and nutrition claims regulations: Standard 1.2.7

Who to contact

If you have questions about making and substantiating a health claim, email health.claims@mpi.govt.nz

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