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Food Safety Focus (187th Issue, February 2022) – Article 4

Learn More About “Negative Claims”

“Negative claims” are commonly found in pre-packaged foods. Some claims are about food products being “free from” certain substances such as “gluten-free” cereals. These ingredients are either not inherent in the food or have been removed from the final food. Other claims stress no addition of certain ingredients like “no preservatives added” in soy sauce, which means that they are not added during production. 

These claims may have different meanings. The trade should be vigilant about making “negative claims”, which should not be misleading and should avoid giving consumers erroneous impressions about the composition of products. Of note, some ingredients are naturally found in foods like monosodium glutamate in yeast extract and nitrate in vegetables. It is undesirable to make claims about not adding an ingredient that is naturally present in the food. Besides, the trade should be aware that there are specific requirement in the legislation for certain claims.

The public is advised to check and understand the “negative claims” for making informed choices.