In July 2012, Health Canada released its position on whether
evidence existed to support two new health claims.
Health claims highlight a product's nutritional benefits.
They include disease risk reduction claims, which link food, or a
component of a food product, to reducing the risk of developing a
diet-related disease (e.g., osteoporosis, cancer, etc.) as part of
a total diet. Disease risk reduction claims must be pre-approved by
Health Canada, and companies wishing to make the claims must meet
the compositional requirements and use wording prescribed by Health
1. Whole Grains and Coronary Heart Disease Reduction
Health Canada concluded that the clinical trial and prospective
cohort studies to date are not sufficient to support a
claim linking whole grains and coronary heart disease risk
reduction claim in Canada. Health Canada is of the view that the
prospective cohort studies were of limited applicability to the
Canadian population. For example, many of the studies used specific
population samples (e.g., male health professionals only, Seventh
Day Adventists only, rural-dwelling Swedish males).
Though an effect of whole grains on total and LDL cholesterol
was observed when clinical trial results were pooled, the effect
was attributable to the combination of trials judged to be poor
quality and trials that tested grain products high in beta-glucan
fibre. The cholesterol-lowering caused by grains high in
beta-glucan cannot be generalized to wheat grain products. Thus, a
whole grain and coronary heart disease health claim would be
misleading if applied to grains not high in beta-glucan fibre.
2. Barley Products and Cholesterol Lowering
In 2010, Health Canada approved claims linking oat products high
in beta-glucan fibre to the lowering of cholesterol. Last month,
after reviewing relevant clinical studies, Health Canada concluded
that similar cholesterol lowering claims can be made for another
grain product high in beta-glucan fibre, namely barley.
The following is an example of a claim using the prescribed
X ml (Y cups) of Brand A cooked pearled barley provides Z% of
the daily amount of the fibre shown to help lower
"Daily amount" is 3 grams of barley beta-glucan. The
percentage of daily amount of barley beta-glucan should be
expressed to the nearest multiple of 5%.
The following additional statements are also permitted but must
be adjacent to the above statement and in letters up to twice the
size and prominence as the above statement:
"Barley fibre helps reduce/lower cholesterol"
"High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart
"Barley fibre helps reduce/lower cholesterol, (which is) a
risk factor for heart disease"
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