Food Regulatory

Regulatory Update: Unlocking Calcium’s Functional Claim in Milk and Milk Products

Milk products are an essential component of the diet of billions of people worldwide and have long been hailed as excellent sources of calcium (Visioli et al., 2014). It is a crucial element serving as an essential component of bones and teeth as it plays a fundamental role in supporting skeletal structure and integrity (Vannucci et al., 2018). It’s quite common you may come across such statement or statement with similar meaning in the milk and milk products when you shop – Calcium helps in building strong bones and teeth.

This statement is considered a nutrient function claim, a type of nutrition claim where it always serves as a powerful tool to attract consumers, differentiate products in a competitive market, and shape perceptions of the nutritional value of the items (Prates et al., 2022). In general, nutrition claims give positive information about foods, which are widely used as a marketing strategy on labels (Prates et al., 2022) where it describes the physiological function of the nutrient or other components in fostering growth, development, and the regular functions of the body (Codex Alimentarius Commission, 2013). Particularly, health-conscious consumers would tend to choose products featuring with nutritional claim on the packaging.

Given to the above, calcium fortification of milk products has gained interest with the growing awareness about the importance of higher calcium intake. With food fortification, it does not only enable manufacturers to fortify their products to reach the necessary nutrient levels to make specific nutrient function claims but also elevates the overall nutritional properties of the product which delivers a public health benefit. The calcium salts that always been used in the milk product formulation includes calcium carbonate, calcium chloride, and calcium citrate (Palacios et al., 2020).

The following overview outlines the minimum calcium content necessary to meet the criteria for nutrient function claims in the Southeast Asia region and China:

Name of Country

Permitted Nutrient Function Claims

Minimum amount required

Additional Requirements

China

  • Calcium is the main component of human bones and teeth, and many physiological functions also require the involvement of calcium.
  • Calcium is a major component of bones and teeth and maintains bone density.
  • Calcium helps in the development of bones and teeth.
  • Calcium helps in strengthening bones and teeth.

120 mg per 100 g (solids);

60 mg per 100 ml (liquids);

40 mg per 420kJ

Indonesia

  • Calcium helps form and maintain bone and tooth density.
  • Calcium helps form bones and teeth.
  • Calcium helps bone formation.
  • Calcium helps tooth formation.
  • Calcium helps maintain bone and tooth density.
  • Calcium helps maintain bone density.
  • Calcium helps maintain tooth density.
  • Calcium helps form and maintain bone density.

165 mg per 100 g (solids);

82.5 mg per 100 ml (liquids)

1. Processed foods that contain more than 400mg of calcium per serving must be accompanied by a statement that “Consuming more than 2000mg per day will not add benefits in maintaining bone density”; And

2. Ratio of calcium : phosphorus levels = 1 – 2 : 1

Malaysia

  • Calcium helps in the development of strong bones and teeth (or any other words of similar meaning)

150 mg per 100 g (solids);

75 mg per 100 ml (liquids);

50 mg per 100 kcal

Philippines

  • Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth
  • There is no specific statement required; may claim with similar statement as above provided that it is accompanied by “help”, “support”.

82.5mg per 100g (solids);

41.3mg per 100mL (liquids);

27.5mg per 100kcal

*reference value: children 3-5 years old

105mg per 100g (solids);

52.5mg per 100mL (liquids);

35mg per 100kcal

*reference value: children 6-9 years old

150mg per 100g (solids);

75mg per 100mL (liquids);

50mg per 100kcal

*reference value: children 10-18 years old

112.5mg per 100g (solids);

56.3mg per 100mL (liquids);

37.5mg per 100kcal

*reference value: adults 19-49 years old

120mg per 100g (solids);

60mg per 100mL (liquids);

40mg per 100kcal

*reference value: adults 50 – ≥70 years old

Sri Lanka

There are no nutrient function claims being established by authority

Thailand

  • Calcium is needed for the maintenance of normal bones and teeth
  • Calcium contributes to the synthesis of bones and teeth

150mg per serving

If any components exceeded amounts below, the amount of that component must be included adjacent to the statement:

– Total fat more than 13g;

– Saturated fat more than 4g;

– Cholesterol more than 60mg;

– Sodium more than 300mg;

-Total sugar more than 13g

Vietnam

There are no nutrient function claims being established by authority

Disclaimer: The nutritional requirements above is calculated based on the NRVs (nutrient reference values) in respective countries. The NRVs may subject to change depends on local regulations, considering differences in population demographics, dietary guidelines, health priorities, scientific research interpretations, regulatory frameworks, and consumer preferences.

Speak to our food and regulatory experts at DPO International to find out more about the latest functional ingredients that are key in meeting trending consumer demands.

References:

  1. Codex Alimentarius Commission. (2013). Guidelines For Use Of Nutrition And Health Claims (CAC/GL 23-1997).
  2. Palacios, C., Cormick, G., Hofmeyr, G. J., Garcia‐Casal, M. N., Peña‐Rosas, J. P., & Betrán, A. P. (2020). Calcium‐fortified foods in public health programs: Considerations for implementation. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1485(1), 3–21. https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.14495
  3. Prates, S. M., Reis, I. A., Rojas, C. F., Spinillo, C. G., & Anastácio, L. R. (2022). Influence of nutrition claims on different models of front-of-package nutritional labeling in supposedly healthy foods: Impact on the understanding of nutritional information, healthfulness perception, and purchase intention of Brazilian consumers. Frontiers in Nutrition, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2022.921065
  4. Vannucci, L., Fossi, C., Quattrini, S., Guasti, L., Pampaloni, B., Gronchi, G., Giusti, F., Romagnoli, C., Cianferotti, L., Marcucci, G., & Brandi, M. L. (2018). Calcium intake in Bone Health: A focus on calcium-rich mineral waters. Nutrients, 10(12), 1930. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10121930
  5. Visioli, F., & Strata, A. (2014). Milk, dairy products, and their functional effects in humans: A narrative review of recent evidence. Advances in Nutrition, 5(2), 131–143. https://doi.org/10.3945/an.113.005025