The Swedish Nutrition Foundation (SNF) was established in 1961 with the overall aim to support research in nutrition and adjacent fields, and to promote the implementation of this research into practice, not the least regarding development and promotion of nutritious food products. SNF is a non-governmental organisation supported by about 40 companies and organisations covering all branches from agriculture to main retailers. SNF organises national and international symposia and issues the only Scandinavian scientific journal in the area, the Scandinavian Journal of Nutrition (publisher Taylor&Frances).
In 1990, Sweden was the first country to issue and implement a voluntary Code of conduct regarding health claims on foods entitled "Health Claims in the Labelling and Marketing of Food Products. The Food Industry's Rules (Self-Regulating Programme)". This Code was promoted and accepted by the authorities, and SNF got an advisory and coordinating role in the programme. It listed eight generally accepted diet-health relationships around which generic claims could be made. The claims must be made in two steps, connecting one of these diet-health relationships to a statement of the content of the relevant nutrient or dietary fibre. One claim relevant to whole-grain cereals concerns dietary fibre content, bowel habit and risk for constipation. Another claim relates "certain soluble types of dietary fibre" (i.e. oat beta-glucans), cholesterol level and risk of cardiovascular disease.
Awaiting EU-regulation, the Code was revised in 1997 and 2001. It now includes "product-specific physiological claims" subject to human studies with the product in question, and pre-marketing evaluation of the scientific documentation. A ninth generic claim regarding whole grain and risk of heart disease was also included in 2003.
SNFs experience regarding health claims and their scientific documentation will be brought into the Healthgrain project. Furthermore, SNFs director, professor Nils-Georg Asp is active in this area on the international level, not the least as chair of the fifth framework concerted action "Process for the Assessment of Scientific Substantiation of Claims on Foods (PASSCLAIM)".
Last updated on 2006-07-21 by Gertrud Linsberger-Martin