MANUFACTURERS claiming their products are "low fat" will have to back up their advertising with scientific evidence under new standards.Federal, state and territory ministers at a food regulation forum endorsed the new regulatory regime for nutrition and health claims at a meeting in Brisbane today.
But companies will have a three-year grace period before they have to comply.
"The new standard regulates the voluntary use of nutrition content claims such as 'low fat' and health claims like 'contains calcium for healthy bones' as well as endorsements," federal parliamentary secretary for health Catherine King said in a statement.
"The system is necessary to ensure health claims only appear on healthy foods and that those foods containing higher levels of sugar, fat and salt will not be able to claim health benefits."
Ms King said manufacturers who make claims on packaged foods will have to support them with scientific evidence.
A communique issued after the meeting stated the new standard "aims to ensure consumers can have confidence that health claims are evidence-based".
The communique also noted "good progress" on front-of-pack food labelling which is due to be finalised by mid-2013.