The European Commission, after six years of work, has published a list of 222 health claims that can be made on food labels and advertising when products are sold in the EU.

It is the first time manufacturers and retailers have been given solid legal guidance within the EU’s health claim screening process.

The 222 claims, assessed by the European Food Safety Authority and backed by EU ministers and MEPs, are now online.

The Commission has also rejected around 1,600 claims, and will soon post these on the database, along with the reasons for the rejection. They will be outlawed from early December, with EU member states being responsible for policing marketing and labels, not the Commission.

EU health and consumer policy Commissioner John Dalli said the decision was “the culmination of years of work and marks a major milestone in regulating health claims on food”.

He added the Commission would continue assessing further health claims, notably 2,200 claims regarding plant-based food products, or botanicals.