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Today’s consumers rely on nutrition claims on a product label to make better food choices. 

Nowadays, consumers are more conscious of nutrition claims to help them decide their daily diet.

With that in mind, sellers must provide accurate and factual information about the nutritional content of their products.

In this article, we have summarized the nutrient claims on food products allowed by the Ministry of Health Malaysia.

What is a Nutrition Label?

Since forever, people gather information about a product from many sources; family, friends, ads, and the media. Nowadays, consumers are more conscious and read the information on the product label.

Nutrition labels are a helpful source of nutrition information such as the amount of energy, nutrients, and vitamins.

This helps consumers compare the nutrient composition of similar products by different brands.


What are Nutrition Claims?

Nutrition claims or otherwise known as nutrient content claims describe the level of nutrients in a food product.

Sellers can put these on their labels so long as the nutrition claims follow the Food Regulations set by the Ministry of Health Malaysia.

There are 4 types of nutrition claims that are permitted in Malaysia:

  • Nutrition labelling
  • Nutrient content claim
  • Nutrient comparative claim
  • Nutrient function claim

Good to know
Not all food products require nutrition labeling in Malaysia.


What are the Nutrition Claims Allowed on Product Labels?

Before any nutrient claims are made, the food product must meet specific criteria. These criteria have been stated in the Food Regulations.

We know how little time you have to read through the whole lengthy document (168 pages!) so we’ll summarize the information for you.

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Nutrition labelling

As the name implies, nutrition labeling is the description of the product’s nutrient content intended to inform the consumer.

Typically, this includes the energy and nutrient content of the food which must be stated on the label per serving size and per 100g/100ml.

Do take note that only the core nutrients are compulsory on the label. The list of main nutrients that must be on the packaging label is:

  • Energy
  • Carbohydrate
  • Total Sugars
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Sodium

You can also include optional nutrients provided that they are present in significant amounts.


Where to get a nutrition facts label?

Also known as the Nutrition Information Panel (NIP), the nutrient information must be analyzed by a certified testing laboratory in Malaysia.

You need to send a sample of your product to a nutrition lab for testing before you can put the NIP on your product label.

Sample of the NIP containing the core and compulsory nutrient contents

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Sample of NIP containing optional nutrients

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Nutrient Content Claim

As stated in the Food Regulations, a nutrient content claim means a nutrition claim that describes the nutrient level of a food product.

Specifically, this pertains to the claim ‘low’ or ‘free’ on the label. If you want to claim your product as having low fat or sugar-free, you cannot do so lightly.

You must first refer to Table I and Table II to the Fifth A Schedule for any claims of:

  • Low-nutrient food
  • Nutrient-free food
  • Source of nutrient
  • High-nutrient food

Table I Fifth A Schedule

Nutrient

Claim

Guideline

Energy Low Solid

40 kcal (170kJ) per 100g

Liquid

20 kcal (80kJ) for 100ml

Free 4 kcal for each 100ml or 100g
Fat Low Solid

3 g per 100g

Liquid

1.5 g per 100ml

Free 0.15 g for every 100g or 100ml
Saturated Fat Low Solid

1.5 gm per 100g

Liquid

0.75 gm per 100ml

*and 10% of the total food energy

Free 0.1 g for every 100g or 100ml
Cholesterol Low Solid

0.02 g per 100g

Liquid

0.01 g per 100ml

Free 0.005 g for each 100g or 100ml
Trans Fatty Acid Low Solid 

1.5 g per 100g

Liquid

0.75 g per 100ml

Free 0.1 g per 100g or 100ml
Sugar Free 0.5 g per 100g or 100ml
Sodium Low 0.12 g per 100g
Very Low 0.04 g per 100ml
Free 0.005 g per 100g or 100ml

Table II Fifth A Schedule

Nutrient

Claim

Guideline

Protein Source 10% of NRV per 100g
High At least twice the value for “Source”
Vitamins & Minerals Source Solid

15% of NRV per 100g 

Liquid

7.5% of NRV per 100ml

High At least twice the value for “Source”

(*) Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

As for food products that are naturally low in or free of the nutrient, these are the rules you must follow:

A low (name of nutrient) food
or
A (name of nutrient)-free food


Nutrient Comparative Claims

The Food Regulation states that nutrient comparative claims are allowed to compare the nutrient levels of 2 or more foods.

These claims include using words such as:

  • reduced
  • less than
  • fewer
  • increased
  • more than
  • light
  • extra
  • or any other words of similar meaning.

However, there are some conditions that sellers should take note of if they want to use nutrient comparative claims.

  1. The compared food must be a different version of similar food.
  2. Food comparison must be clearly identified on the label.
  3. The difference in nutrient content must be placed close to the claim.
  4. Nutrient content difference should be at least 25%.

 


Nutrient Function Claim

Last but not least, the nutrient function claim is the description of the nutrient in terms of growth, development, and normal functions of the body.

It’s quite lengthy so we’ve listed the most common nutrient function claims (or words of similar meaning) that the Food Regulation allows:

Essential for the growth and division of cells
Plays a role in the formation of red blood cells
Helps to maintain the growth and development of the fetus

An important component of the brain tissue;

A factor in red blood cell formation
Component in red blood cells that carries oxygen to all parts of the body

Aids in the development of strong bones and teeth

Promotes calcium absorption and retention

Helps build and repair body tissues
Essential for growth and development
Provides amino acids necessary for protein synthesis

Aids in maintaining the health of the skin and mucous membrane
Essential for the functioning of the eye

Needed for the release of energy from carbohydrates

Needed for the release of energy from proteins, fats, and carbohydrates

Needed for red blood cell production

Enhances absorption of iron from nonmeat sources
Contributes to the absorption of iron from food

Helps the body utilize calcium and phosphorus
Necessary for the absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus

Protects the fat in body tissues from oxidation

Essential for growth


Where to find Nutrition Facts Label Consulting?

All in all, even though we’ve summarized all the essential information, it is still overwhelming.

But, accurate labels on food products are important for government compliance and building your customer’s trust.

We have the right expertise to make sure you get it right the first time so your product hits the shelves.

Foodipedia helps you with label development, label audits, nutrition claims, lab testing, and printing your own label.

Fill in your details below and our expert advisor will contact you shortly!

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