With the growing recognition of the connection between diet and health along with soaring health care costs, both consumers and governments have had great interest in capitalizing on the benefits of functional foods for health promotion. Although there is no standard accepted definition of functional food, most regulations and guidelines incorporate the concept that such foods, food components, and supplements provide a benefit to health beyond basic nutrition. There has been considerable progress by governments and Codex to develop systems to allow such products and to communicate their benefits to consumers through labeling claims. Some national regulatory agencies have laid down scientific standards for demonstrating the safety and efficacy of functional foods for different types of nutrition and health claims. Regulatory agencies are especially concerned that claims on foods or supplements are truthful and not misleading and aid consumers in making informed choices for health promotion. In the future, it is expected that functional foods will gain in importance, and regulatory agencies will need to continue to ensure that any claims on such products meet consumer needs.

See also: Bioavailability. Food Composition Data. Food Fortification: Developed Countries; Developing Countries. Fruits and Vegetables. Functional Foods:

Health Effects and Clinical Applications. Supplementation: Dietary Supplements; Role of Micronutrient Supplementation; Developing Countries; Developed Countries.

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