§ Ms Blears
There are no specific regulations in place to control the use of claims for improving mental and physical well-being made on 'functional' foods. Claims on foods are controlled by provisions of the Food Safety Act 1990 and the Trade Descriptions Act 1968, which prohibit false and misleading claims. In addition, the Food Labelling Regulations 1996 (as amended) lay down general labelling requirements for foods and prohibit medical claims i.e. claims that a food will prevent, treat or cure a disease.
§ Ms Blears
I have been asked to reply.
The Government has not taken any specific steps to promote scientific research into the claims made for "functional foods" or their safety. "Functional foods", like other foods, must comply with the provisions of the Food Safety Act 1990, the Food Labelling Regulations (1969) as amended and the Trade Descriptions Act 1968.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) supports the activities of the self-regulatory joint health claims initiative that has established a voluntary system for the scientific substantiation of health claims. The FSA also commissions a broad spectrum of research and surveys on nutrition and food safety, details of which are available through the agency's website.