The claim, the ninth to be approved by Sweden's voluntary health claims code, gives food makers greater opportunity to market the health benefits of foods rich in wholegrains.
It follows a similar claim approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in December last year. Approval of the claim throughout Europe's markets could take several more months after a European parliamentary committee yesterday decided not to proceed with a parliament vote on a proposed regulation to harmonise health claims.
Eating wholegrain cereals has been shown to reduce chances of death from heart disease and reduce risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Products using the new claim must contain at least 50 per cent wholegrain (dry matter) and limited amounts of sugar and fat, corresponding to the kind of nutritional profiling proposed by the stalled EU claims legislation.
It states: 'A healthy lifestyle and a well balanced diet rich in wholegrain products reduces the risk for cardiac infarction/heart disease. The product X is rich in wholegrain (contains Y% of wholegrain).'
Sweden's voluntary code on health-related claims, or product-specific physiological claims, has existed since 1990 and the approach is attracting attention from across the world and is coordinated by the Swedish Nutrition Foundation.
Like the UK's Joint Health Claims Initiative (JHCI), it offers pre-marketing evaluation of scientific documentation supporting claims. It has also accepted health claims relating to saturated fatty acids and certain fibres.
The JHCI has approved a generic claim for wholegrains, which states: 'People with a healthy heart tend to eat more wholegrain foods as part of a healthy lifestyle.'