GI Symbol News with Dr Alan Barclay

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Dr Alan Barclay

New health claim legislation for Australia and New Zealand includes provisions for GI. 
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand’s (FSANZ) draft food standard to regulate nutrition content claims and health claims on food labels and in advertisements was recently approved by the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation clearing the way for its implementation in early 2013. Once law, all health claims need to be supported by high quality scientific evidence and will only be permitted on foods that meet specific eligibility criteria including the Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion (NPSC), which identifies healthier foods and drinks. The NPSC model is still undergoing development as part of the process of developing a new front-of-pack labelling system for Australia.

Under the new standard:

  • General level health claims such as ‘calcium is good for strong bones’ can be supported either by pre-approved or industry self-substantiated food/health relationships. 
  • High level health claims such as ‘calcium reduces the risk of osteoporosis’ however, will require pre-approval by FSANZ. 

What about GI? We are delighted to see that the new standard includes specific requirements for claims about the glycemic index, making Australia and New Zealand one of the few countries in the world that officially allows claims about GI on food labels. It specifically requires a food or drink to be tested in vivo (in humans) according to AS 4694 – 2007 (the Australian standard for GI testing). On top of this, to make a generic GI claim, a food or drink must meet the requirements of FSANZ’s Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion.

What about the GI Symbol? The new Standard also allows Certification Trademarks owned by bona fide not-for-profit organisations like the GI Foundation’s GI Symbol (or the Heart Foundation’s Tick) to be used. Foods that carry the GI Symbol have always met the requirements of AS 4694 – 2007, and in fact must now meet the requirements of ISO 26642:2010 (the international standard for GI testing).

As foods that use the GI Symbol have already met the Symbol program’s very stringent nutrient criteria, which identify healthier low GI choices within food categories, they do not need to additionally meet FSANZ’s Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion.

In 2013, here at the GI Foundation we will be developing a range of high level health claims about the GI and these will only be able to be used on foods that carry the GI Symbol. Stay tuned…

The GI Symbol, making healthy low GI choices easy choices

New GI Symbol

For more information about the GI Symbol Program
Dr Alan W Barclay, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Glycemic Index Foundation (Ltd)
Phone: +61 (0)2 9785 1037
Mob: +61 (0)416 111 046
Fax: +61 (0)2 9785 1037