In this article, Kos Sclavos, Pharmacy Guild of Australia national president, noted, “General level health claims can be supported by either FSANZ pre-approved claims or industry self-substantiated food-health relationships. High level health claims will require pre-approval by FSANZ.”
Self-substantiation of general level food-health claims was a late concession to industry by the Labor government despite being strongly opposed by public health and consumer bodies. In essence, it re-creates the same trust-based system that we have for claims made about complementary medicine; a system that has been widely abused by many sponsors.
We also have a complaint system for food claims that is far worse than for therapeutic goods; complaints about health claims in food are handled by the States (and in my experience usually ignored as State authorities claim they have more important priorities). At least complaints about claims made about therapeutic goods go to one body – the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Complaint Resolution Panel (CRP) – and usually receive a helpful determination (albeit currently slow and unenforceable)!
There is a need for the CRP to handle all complaints about therapeutic claims regardless of whether they involve a medicine, device or food, In addition, the CRP needs to be given the power to enforce timely and effective sanctions to deter repeat offenders.
However, self-interested parties appear to have the ear of government and ineffective regulation allowing consumers to be ripped off is the end result!by