What are the regulations and labels for functional foods?

This article explores the functional food industry, its regulation and labeling. Dieticians and nutritionists are often asked how "health-boosting foods" can be identified and controlled on the market. Functional foods, or foods with a potential positive impact on health that goes beyond nutrition alone, are gaining popularity due to the increased interest of consumers in their health. This article will explain why understanding the labeling and regulations of these food products is important, provide some advice on what to watch out for and give examples of labeling.

Understanding the importance of understanding functional food regulation and labeling

Labeling and regulation of functional food is essential to protect public health. It ensures that the products are both safe and accurate. Labels that are misleading or functional foods poorly regulated can cause harmful side effects, or fail to deliver on the health benefits promised. This may result in consumer mistrust.

A study published in Journal of Food Science has highlighted the importance of more strict and standard regulations across the world for functional food. It is important to do this because of the potential health impact these foods could have on people and due to their growing popularity.

Important Points for Getting Started

It is important to know that functional foods are regulated in different ways across the globe. In the United States for example, the FDA doesn't recognize the term "functional food" legally and so these foods must adhere to the same regulations as conventional foods. Check the sources of all health claims and make sure they are backed up by scientific evidence.

Example of Functional Food Labeling

Other Tips

Functional foods may be beneficial to your overall health but they shouldn't replace a varied and balanced diet. Remember that functional food is a supplement to a healthy lifestyle and not able to cure or prevent disease. Consult a health professional prior to making any significant changes in your diet. This is especially important if you suffer from underlying medical conditions.


Understanding how functional food is regulated and labelled will help you make informed choices about your diet. You can incorporate functional food into your diet safely by being informed about the rules, scrutinizing labels and consulting with professionals when needed. It's important to balance these functional foods with a varied and nutritional diet in order to achieve optimal health.