Nutrition claims are becoming increasingly common on children's foods. Current guidelines on what is and isn't permitted on labels are quite confusing. Claims on foods need to be read very carefully, and always in the context of the ingredients list and Nutrition Information Panel.
- Nutrient claims such as 'high fibre' are allowed when the manufacturer can prove that the claim is true (although they are rarely asked to do so).
- Claims of 'low fat' are only allowed on products with less than 3g of fat per 100g, BUT claims that state a product is 'light' are not subject to the same guidelines. The claim 'light' may appear on products with a variety of fat contents.
- The only 'health claim' currently permitted on food packages is for folate and the prevention of neural tube defects in babies.
- Some manufacturers may make general health claims about functional benefits like bone or heart health.
- General claims found on children's foods often refer to energy levels, however manufacturers are unlikely to point out that high energy levels provided by a product are most likely derived from a high sugar content. This is the case with many 'high energy' breakfast cereals marketed to children.