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Sports Foods

Europe

Prior to July 20th 2016, sports foods were considered ‘Foods for Particular Nutritional Uses’ under EU legislation. Since that date, the notion of foods for particular uses has been abolished. In a recent report exploring potential Regulatory options for sports foods, the EU Commission concluded that ‘there is no necessity for specific provisions for food intended for sportspeople’.

Consequently the regulation of sports foods now falls under general food law. Regulations of specific relevance to this category include:

  • Food fortification
  • Nutrition & Health Claims
  • Food supplements

These Regulations may impose certain compositional and labelling requirements on some sports foods.

Other considerations:
  • Some ingredients used in sports foods may be considered medicines in certain countries
  • No Codex standard exists for these products.
Notable exceptions to other regions are:
  • Germany also has its own regulation, the Diatverordung
  • Norway has specific rules on ‘sports drinks’

Updated July 22, 2016

Middle East & Africa

This is a regulated sector across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and in Egypt; regulations applying to sports food denote nutritional, compositional and labelling requirements for these foods. These products are not generally regulated in African countries. No Codex standard exists for these products.

Product definition:
  • Produced with high nutritional content, in the form of liquid or solid (for example: energy bars, protein bars), to be used by individuals as part of a balanced diet to provide supplemental feeding. It is not intended to be used for weight loss, or as part of medical treatment
  • Athlete food is mainly produced from proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the form of powders, liquids, tablets or bars. It can be prepared by one or more of the following components: amino acids; vitamins; mineral nutrients; plant extracts; natural and artificial flavouring and fillers; and may contain natural sugars and dietary fibre
Other considerations:
  • Some sports foods are sold as food supplements for which specific rules apply for labelling and composition. Specific rules exist in the GCC for supplements used in body building
  • Some ingredients used in sports foods may be considered medicines in certain countries
  • Rules on nutrition and health claims are of particular significance for these products

Consumers in this category range from the general population to elite athletes.

Potential regulation changes currently underway:
  • Some substances listed in the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO) standard are monitored with a view to prohibiting the use of certain substances in sports foods

North America

Foods for special dietary uses is a regulated sector across North America with limited rules specifically for sports foods in Canada. No Codex standard exists for these products.

Other considerations:
  • Some sports foods are sold as food supplements for which specific rules apply for labelling and composition
  • Some ingredients used in sports foods may be considered medicines in certain countries
  • Rules on nutrition and health claims are of particular significance for these products

Consumers in this category range from the general population to elite athletes.

Latin America

Regulation of this sector is inconsistent in the Latin American (LATAM) region. No Codex standard exists for these products and foods are regulated in the following ways:

  • As foods for special dietary uses with no specific rules
  • Under rules for labelling of sports foods
  • As beverages for sports people
Other considerations:
  • Some sports foods are sold as food supplements for which specific rules apply for labelling and composition
  • Some ingredients used in sports foods may be considered medicines in certain countries
  • Rules on nutrition and health claims are of particular significance for these products

Consumers in this category range from the general population to elite athletes.

Asia Pacific

Regulation of this sector is inconsistent in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. These products are not generally regulated in Asian countries, although there are provisions for rules in Indonesia. This is a regulated sector in Australia and New Zealand; regulations applying to supplementary sports food denote nutritional, compositional and labelling requirements for these foods. No Codex standard exists for these products.

Product Definition:
  • Formulated supplementary sports food means a food or mixture of foods specifically formulated to assist sports people in achieving specific nutritional or performance goals
  • Specific rules have been laid down for:
    • High carbohydrate supplements
    • Protein energy supplements
    • Energy supplements
Other considerations:
  • Some sports foods are sold as food supplements for which specific rules apply for labelling and composition
  • Some ingredients used in sports foods may be considered medicines in certain countries
  • Rules on nutrition and health claims are of particular significance for these products
  • In Australia and New Zealand, clinical trials are required on any products that you intend to launch and it must be carried out on the actual target consumer group

Consumers in this category range from the general population to elite athletes.

Potential regulation changes currently underway:
  • A review of the Australian / New Zealand standard is planned

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