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Draft Table of Conditions for Nutrient Contents (Draft Guidelines for Use of Nutrition Claims) (Agenda Item 4)[2]

10. The Committee recalled that the Draft Guidelines had been advanced to Step 8 and that the Committee on Food Labelling had asked the CCNFSDU to consider conditions for the expression of nutrients on the basis of servings and to define the conditions for "cholesterol free", "low sugars", "energy free" and "saturated fat free".

11. In order to facilitate the discussion of these issues, the Committee established an informal Working Group chaired by the Delegation of the United Kingdom[3]. The Committee considered the conditions in the Table and made the following amendments and additions.

Energy Free

12. The Committee agreed to define the claim for energy free for liquids as 4 kcal/100 ml, recognizing that it was not applicable to solids, although some delegations and the Observer from Consumers International felt that the value should be lower or at the limit of quantification.


Low Fat

13. Some delegations and the Observers from the EC and IFMA expressed the view that a specific exception should be made for products with a natural high fat content, where the current values did not allow for a "low" claim, even with a significant reduction in fat contents. The Committee however recalled that the CCFL had considered this question in detail and confirmed that there should be no exception to the general applicability of the Guidelines. Comparative claims ("reduced" or "light") were allowed when a significant reduction in nutrient contents had been made, and could be used in the case of high fat products. The Observer from Consumers International stressed that no exceptions should be made in order to provide reliable nutritional information to consumers.

14. The Committee did not accept a suggestion to include a footnote indicating that commodity committees might establish standards diverging from the conditions in the Table and agreed that such a proposal would detract from the overall horizontal approach followed in Codex, while noting that general provisions in specific standards were subject to endorsement by the relevant general committees. The Observer from IDF expressed his disagreement with this decision.

Fat Free

15. The Committee discussed a proposal to increase the level for "fat free" to 0.5g/100 g or ml, taking into account the sensitivity of methods for the determination of fat. Some delegations pointed out that the current level of 0.15 g was very low and too restrictive, preventing claims for products such as cereals. The conditions for claims should also be considered in the context of general nutritional policy to help consumers to make informed choices. Other delegations expressed the view that fat should be below the limit of quantification and the same condition should apply all claims for "free". The Committee amended the conditions for "fat free" to not more than 0.5 g/100g or 100ml.

Saturated Fats


16. The Delegation of Malaysia expressed the view that a claim for trans-fatty acids should be included in the Table and the Committee recalled that the CCFL had sought its advice on nutrition aspects of this issue in relation to claims for saturated fats. Some delegations felt that it was premature to include any reference to trans-fatty acids as scientific evidence was not entirely conclusive, while other delegations proposed to add them to saturated fats for the purpose of making claims.

17. The Committee recognized that, in view of current scientific evidence, it was premature to request a separate declaration of trans-fatty acids and recalled that the FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Fats and Oils in Human Nutrition had recommended that claims concerning saturated fats should be restricted to foods with appropriately low or limited levels of trans-fatty acids. As suggested by the Delegation of France, the Committee agreed to include a footnote indicating that "In the case of the claim for "low in saturated fats", trans-fatty acids should be taken into account where applicable. This provision consequently applies to foods claimed to be "low in cholesterol" or "cholesterol free".


18. The Committee agreed that the condition for this claim should be "not more than 0.1 g of saturated fat per 100g of solids or 100 ml of liquids".

Cholesterol Free

19. The Committee agreed that this claim could be made when the level of cholesterol was not higher than 0.005 g/100 g (solids) or 100 ml (liquids) and the saturated fat contents was the same as for "low cholesterol". The Committee did not accept a proposal to link the level of cholesterol to the total energy value of the food. The Committee did not accept the view of the Delegation of Malaysia that claims for cholesterol (low and free) should not be linked to saturated fats.

Low Sugars

20. Several delegations and the Observers from Consumers International and IFGMA stressed that this claim was not relevant from the nutritional point of view, while a claim for "reduced" sugars would be more appropriate if applicable. The Committee agreed to recommend to the CCFL not to include "low sugars" in the list and to retain only the "sugar free" claim.


21. Some delegations pointed out that the expressions of fibre content per 100 kcal and per 100 g did not correspond. For some foods, the expressions were consistent when calculated on the basis of servings while they may be consistent for other foods on the basis of 100g. In view of the difficulties to establish a definition of fibre as well as a suitable method of analysis, the Committee could not reach a conclusion at this stage and agreed that this issue required further consideration, in conjunction with the expression of claims per servings.


22. The Committee agreed that further consideration should be given to the values proposed.

Vitamins and Minerals

23. The Committee noted the difficulties associated with the definitions of levels for vitamins and minerals per 100g or per 100 kcal and agreed that further consideration should be given to the values proposed.

Expression of nutrient contents per serving

24. The Committee, recognizing that servings were used as reference in a number of countries, agreed that this issue required further consideration, in order to establish conditions for claims on the basis of servings, to be added to the Table at a later date. It was further agreed to require specific government comments by Circular Letter, for consideration by the next session. The correlation between the expression of nutrient contents per 100g/100ml or 100 kcal and per serving should be examined carefully in order to provide clear and comparable information to consumers.

25. The Committee agreed that, as consensus had been reached on part A of the Table, with the amendments and additions noted above, it should be included in the Draft Guidelines, while further work was still required on part B (Fibre, Protein, Vitamins and Minerals) and on the expression of conditions for claims per serving.

Status of the Table of Conditions for Nutrient Contents

26. The Committee agreed to forward part A of the Table to the Commission for adoption at Step 8 as part of the Draft Guidelines for Use of Nutrition Claims (see Appendix II) and to return part B to Step 6 for further comments and discussion at the next session (Appendix VII).

[2] CX/NFSDU 96/3 and CRD 3 (comments of New Zealand, France, Thailand, European Dairy Association, International Dairy Federation and International Federation of Margarine Associations)
[3] CRD 14 (Conclusions of the Working Group)

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