Cholesterol-Lowering Health Claim for Ground Flaxseed

In 2014, Health Canada approved a health claim linking ground whole flaxseed to blood cholesterol lowering, a major risk factor for heart disease. The “daily amount” referred to in the claim is 5 Tbsp (75 mL) or 40 g of ground (milled) whole flaxseed consumed over three intakes. For example, “16 g (2 tablespoons/30 mL) of ground flaxseed supplies 40% of the daily amount shown to help lower cholesterol”.

In addition to this primary statement, the following additional statements may be used:

  • Ground (whole) flaxseed helps reduce/lower cholesterol
  • High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease
  • Ground (whole) flaxseed helps reduce/lower cholesterol, (which is) a risk factor for heart disease

The following qualifying criteria apply to all food products carrying the health claim.

The food must:

  • contain at least 13 g of ground whole flaxseed per reference amount and per serving of stated size, or per serving of stated size, if the food is ground whole flaxseed, whole flaxseed or a prepackaged meal;
  • contain at least 10% of the weighted recommended nutrient intake (WRNI) of a vitamin or mineral nutrient per reference amount and per serving of stated size, or per serving of stated size, if the food is a prepackaged meal;
  • contain 100 mg or less of cholesterol per 100 g of food;
  • contain 0.5% or less alcohol;
  • contain 480 mg or less of sodium per reference amount and per serving of stated size, and per 50 g if the reference amount is 30 g or 30 mL or less, or 960 mg or less of sodium per serving of stated size, if the food is a prepackaged meal;
  • meet the conditions for "free of saturated fatty acids" or "low in saturated fatty acids" (Items 18 and 19, respectively, in the table following section B.01.513 of the Food and Drug Regulations).

Packaged whole flaxseed would be eligible to carry the claim if the label clearly specifies that flaxseed must be ground before consumption.

Suggested Reading:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Food Labelling and Advertising. http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/labelling/eng/1299879892810/1299879939872

Health Canada. Summary of Health Canada’s Assessment of a Health Claim about Ground Whole Flaxseed and Blood Cholesterol Lowering. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/label-etiquet/claims-reclam/assess-evalu/flaxseed-graines-de-lin-eng.php