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Label bank

Content claims under the new Food Labeling Standard

The featured theme for this month is content claims. Do you know the difference between 'zero-sugar' and 'no sugar added'.

'Zero-Sugar' and 'No Sugar Added'

Let's summarize a few basic points.
A 'zero-sugar' claim can be made on food labels when the sugar content in the product is less than 0.5 g per 100g (for beverages, 0.5g per 100ml), meaning that the product contains either of no sugar or little sugar-the nutrition analysis results must show that no sugars detected or that sugar content is less than the limit.

Meanwhile, a 'no sugar added' claim can be made when the product meets certain requirements such as that the product uses no sugar as ingredient. Nevertheless, the claim suggests that the product may contain sugars derived from raw materials. Nutrition analysis may find sugars from fruit juice, which was made without using sugars, for example.

New Food Labeling Standard and content claims

As explained above, "zero-xxx" and "No-added" suggest a different meaning. We cover this topic in the newsletter because the reference amount and rules concerning content claims (nutrition, relative, no-added) have changed under the new Standard.

Types of claims

- Terms allowed to be used for products intended to supplement the diet.
  L Nutrient Content Claims
    L High claims: "high", "rich in", "enriched", etc.
    L Content claims : "contains", "provides", "source of", "added", etc.
  L Relative claims
    L Fortified claims : "xx % extra", "xx times more", etc.

- Terms allowed to be used for products intended to maintain a lower calorie intake.
  L Nutrient Content Claims
    L Low claims : "low", "reduced", "light", "diet", etc.
    L Free claims: "non", "zero", "free", etc.

  L Relative claims
    L Reduced claims : "reduced by xx percent", "reduced by xx g", etc.

- Terms allowed to be used for products without added sugar/sodium salt.
  L No-added claims
    L No-added claims : "no sugar added", "sugar free", "no salt added",

Types of claims and changes made under the new Standard

-Nutrition claims
No changes made except for reference amount

  • Changes in reference amount
  • Changes in Lower and upper boundary

-Relative claims
Some changes made

  • The minimum relative difference requirements, 25 % or more, for some nutrients.
  • Some changes in the calculation formula of the absolute difference

-No-added claims
A new rule established

  • No added claims for sugar/sodium salt
  • No use of sugar/sodium salt substitutes
  • Sugar content in the product should not exceeds the sugar content in food and additive ingredients.

Product management: "Ingredients" "Nutrients"

Under the new Standard, "sugar-free" claims fall under the category of "No sugar added" claims.

The product that uses sugar substitutes such as jam or concentrated fruit juice, instead of using sugar as ingredient, can no longer claim to be "sugar free", so a good management system that enables to check, for example, sugar substitutes according to the change in recipe of the product will be required.

There is no change in rules and reference amounts when it comes to the claim "zero sugar, but the rule for relative claims needs be checked when declaring "reduced by xx %”. Product management such as conducting a regular product analysis is essential when making claims.

It may be good to use claims such as "it does not use xxx" or "it does not contain xxx" to differentiate a product with others, but to manage information on ingredients and nutrients should be as important as to comply with the Labeling Standard.

December 2015