Overview of the Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion
What is nutrient profiling?
Nutrient profiling is used internationally to classify foods based on their nutrient content and can help to identify healthier foods.
What is the NPSC?
The NPSC is a nutrient profiling system originally developed for use in Australia and New Zealand to determine whether a food is suitable to make a health claim, based on its nutrient profile. Only foods that meet a certain score are allowed to have health claims made about them. Health claims are claims which refer to a relationship between a food and a health effect, such as 'calcium for healthy bones and teeth'.
In addition, the NPSC has been applied to the permission to add vitamin D to breakfast cereals. That is, vitamin D is only allowed to be added if the breakfast cereal meets the NPSC.
How does the NPSC work?
The NPSC is applied to individual foods. A score is determined based on the amount of energy, saturated fat, total sugars and sodium in the food, along with the amount of fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, coconut, spices, herbs, fungi, algae and seeds and in some cases, dietary fibre and protein. The final score determines whether a food is eligible to make a health claim, based on its nutrient profile.
The calculation methods for determining the final score and the scoring criterion are contained in Schedules 4 and 5 of the Food Standards Code. FSANZ has also developed an online calculator to help food businesses work out the final score.
For health claims other conditions in Standard 1.2.7 - Nutrition, health and related claims must also be met before a health claim can be made. For instance, health claims must be based on food-health relationships that have been substantiated according to the Standard.