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Health claims on food labels
Use of the term "prebiotic(s)"

The term "prebiotic(s)" and similar representations (for example, "stimulates the growth of friendly intestinal microflora", "promotes healthy/beneficial bacteria in the large intestine") on food labels and in advertising that suggest a food confers a health benefit are considered to be implied health claims.

These implied health claims are only acceptable when accompanied by a statement of the specific and measurable health benefit conferred by the prebiotic substance, as demonstrated in humans, for example "Prebiotic X increases calcium absorption". Whether the use of the term "prebiotic(s)" is assessed as a function claim, disease risk reduction claim or therapeutic claim depends on the specific and measurable health effect supported by scientific evidence and the overall impression created by the labelling and advertising of the food. For information on the scientific criteria to substantiate claims about "prebiotic(s)", please contact: hc.health.claims-allegations.sante.sc@canada.ca.

Because prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates, they can be considered as fibre. However, use of the term "prebiotic(s)" must not be made in conjunction with a fibre claim in such a way as to imply that all fibres are "prebiotic(s)", as this is not the case.

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