Position on Article 12c of the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation

Joint Association for Nutrition (AfN) and British Dietetic Association (BDA) position regarding Article 12c of the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation.

The AfN and BDA do not support the removal of Article 12c from the legislation on Nutrition and Health Claims which prohibits the inclusion of health claims in commercial communications that also include comment by, or reference to, an individual medical, nutrition or health professional, or to an association other than a national association of medical, nutrition or dietetic professionals or a health-related charity.

The regulation is designed to ensure the influence and public trust medical, nutrition and health professionals hold is not used to give undue weight to a health claim.

The regulation does not prevent any medical, nutrition or health professional from referencing a health claim, even in relation to a product, where they have not received any kind of financial incentive (direct or indirect) to undertake promotion of the brand or product. Nor does it prevent the use of health claims by nutrition or health professionals in non-commercial communications, such as in one-to-one consultations or in trade articles.

The AfN and BDA support clear and simple guidance from both Government and the Advertising Standards Authority to avoid doubt regarding situations in which the regulation applies.

In the interests of public safety and trust, the AfN and BDA support any moves to strengthen the regulation and the enforcement of rules that would prohibit the use of a health claim linked to a promotion or advertising.

Furthermore, they assert that these rules must be guided by professional knowledge and evidence-based regulation in order to deny those outside of the scope of the current regulation making unsafe or misleading claims.

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