The Joint Health Claims Initiative (JHCI), an independent UK organisation created to assess health claims on food, this week added a new claim to its growing stable of advice for the food industry. Food manufacturers can now choose to use the following claim for soya protein: 'the inclusion of at least 25g of soya protein per day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat, can help reduce blood cholesterol levels' for food labels and in advertising.
The decision to use the new health claim lies totally in the hands of the food manufacturer who may, or may not, choose to make the claim. The JHCI did caution that the wording of the claim has been carefully formulated to reflect the evidence on which the claim has been approved. As such products carrying this claim must, for instance: contain a minimum of 6.25g of soya protein per serving; meet the requirements for a 'low saturates' nutrient claim; and not imply that consumption of more, or less, than 25g per day is advantageous.
So what has the response been like from the industry? " We believe that there will be a significant uptake," Roger Manley, JHCI chairman told FoodNavigator.com. " We have already had enquiries from a number of manufacturers," he added.
In the absence of specific EU legislation the JHCI Code of Practice, launched in 2000, has a set of aims to guide the food industry that include: defining a health claim; outlining the legal framework within which a claim can be made; and setting criteria and general nutrition principles for making a claim.
"Examination of all the evidence and an independent decision is of great value to consumers. They no longer have to believe just what the seller tells them. They can rely on our careful and thorough assessment of the facts. Many consumers say they want good and reliable advice about improving their health by choosing foods wisely", continued Manley.
When might the UK consumer expect to read the new food labels? "The new health claim should be on the shelves within a matter of weeks," Manley concluded.