In the News

TOPIC: Healthier Choice Logo (HCL)

Friday, 30 April 2021

First Published: November 2017

First Revision: May 2020

What is Healthier Choice Logo (HCL) 

  • Healthier Choice Logo (HCL) is one of the signposting in the nutrition labelling system.
  •  HCL can be part of a broader basket of initiatives that give motivation to industries to reformulate food products and assist the consumers in making right food choices
  •  HCL initiative will be implemented successfully with the full support and collaboration from all stakeholders
  •  this initiative will achieve its’ objectives to create an environment which support healthy eating and finally reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases in the country.

Healthier Choice Symbol Programme

  • Making healthier choices while grocery shopping may be rather challenging at times. To solve this, we have introduced the Healthier Choice Symbol.
  • The Healthier Choice Symbol on packaged food products indicates that they are healthier options, and are an easy way for consumers to tell which food products are better for their diet than others!
  • This empowers the individual to make informed food choices.
  • Today, the Healthier Choice Symbol can be seen on about 3500 different food products, spanning across over 60 food categories such as convenience meals, sauces, beverages and breakfast cereals



  • The implementation of Healthier Choices Logo (HCL) is an initiative by the Ministry of Health Malaysia.
  • Launched by the Health Minister on 20 April 2017.It is in line with the strategy of the National Plan of Action for Nutrition of Malaysia (NPANM) III (2016-2025) to promote healthy eating and active living for all.
  • The 65th World Health Assembly (WHA) 2012 Resolution also highlighted the importance of food labeling schemes as a strategy to educate consumers on healthy food choices.
  • Besides that, 23rd ASEAN Summit 2013 stressed the roles and responsibilities of food industries to produce more food that are healthier in the market.
  • Excessive dietary intake particularly fat, sodium and sugars have been shown to be associated with the development of diet-related non-communicable diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes mellitus which are increasing tremendously in Malaysia.

The Aim Of This Initiative is to assist in addressing the rising incidence of those diseases and providing a framework on the development of healthy food supplies to Malaysian consumers. The HCL is intended to provide point-of-sale information to the consumer in making informed food choices. Food products may carry the Healthier Choice Logo if they meet the nutrient criteria specified by the Ministry of Health Malaysia. The implementation of HCL is on voluntary basis by the industries. Applications need to be submitted to Nutrition Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia and certification will be given upon approval. These guidelines are applicable to individual company and its advertising and/or other related agencies. However, the primary responsibility for enforcing and conforming to these standards lies solely with the individual company. In the contact of this guideline, foods refer to foods and beverages

The objectives of HCL

• To assist consumers in making informed food choices by merely looking at the front label of the food packages.

• To help consumers identify healthier food products in the same category of food.

• To encourage food and beverage industries to reformulate and produce healthier products.

• To provide an environment that supports healthy eating practices.



Format of the logo

a) There are only two colours allowed for the logo as shown above.

b) The location of the logo must be on the principal display panel of the product packaging.

c) There should not be more than two logo printed on the single product label.

d) The Logo must adhere to the identification, colour,and size requirements setf orth by Ministry of Health Malaysia. Such requirements are designed to ensure that through uniform and consistent use, the public will continue to recognize the Logo as a distinctive mark and not simply a decorative symbol.

e) The following conditions are PROHIBITED in the Logo format:

• use of non-designated colours;

• rearrange the logo formation;

• rotate the logo;

• remove any part of the logo formation;

• distort or stretch the logo, either horizontally or vertically; or

• substitute fonts in the logo.

f) The Logo must not touch the brand name on the product to suggest that the product is generic, or cover any essential information on the label.

g) The HCL is the copyright of Ministry of Health Malaysia.



  • Applicants that are registered with the Registrar of Companies and stipulated under sub regulation 11 (1) (j), Food Regulation 1985, are eligible to apply for HCL certificate.
  •  They are required to submit the application via the HCL online system. The system can be accessed at:
  •  Each selected food group has a set of nutritional criteria and each product will be evaluated according to these criteria (Appendix 1: Nutritional Guidelines on Nutrient Criteria for Healthier Choice Logo Malaysia).
  • The companies may also send in the proposal to create a new food group or product category under HCL initiative by using the MHCL-3 form (Appendix 2: Industrial’s Proposal for Creating New Food Group/ Product Category under Healthier Choice Logo Malaysia).
  • Applicants are required to send certificate of analysis of the products during the submission of application. Laboratory test must be carried out by accredited and recognized laboratories from the Department of Standard Malaysia under the Skim Akreditasi Makmal Malaysia (SAMM). International Laboratory Accreditation (ILAC) or Mutual Recognize Accreditation (MRA) Signatories laboratories that are recognized by Department of Standard Malaysia are also accepted.
  •  All artworks or labels using or with reference to HCL, must be submitted for approval. All materials submitted are not returnable.
  • Upon receipt of the application, HCL Secretariats will verify the completeness of the application.
  • Any costs related to the submission of application (including analysis, laboratory test and designing artworks) will be borne by the applicants.
  • Approved products may be randomly selected for analysis to ensure that they continue to meet the standard nutritional criteria. Any companies whose products fail to meet the criteria will be investigated and may be disqualified from the programme.
  • It is the responsibility of the applicants to ensure that all food products comply with the requirements of the Food Act 1983, Food Regulations 1985 and HCL Certification Conditions.




              Companies that are certified to use the Logo will agree to:

• the non-exclusive use of the Logo by any one company for any one product;

• certification cannot be negotiable, lendable, transferable, forged, misused or altered in any way;

• be responsible for monitoring the appropriate use of the Logo on certified products;

• the label submitted for HCL must:

i have the Front-of-Pack (FOP) Energy Icon;

ii display the nutrients specified in the criteria on the nutrition information panel (NIP); and iii display a specific statement under the Logo as it serves the purpose of educating the consumers that the HCL products are healthier options within the same category. Therefore, the statement must be visible and readable. Refer to Appendix 1: Nutritional Guidelines on Nutrient Criteria for Healthier Choice Logo Malaysia for the specific statement declaration for each food group and product category.

  1. The certificate will be valid for a duration of two years (24 months) upon approval. At the end of the certified year, the products will be re-evaluated based on the latest nutrient criteria. The nutrient criteria may be amended and updated from time to time to reflect the latest scientific updates.
  2. It is the responsibility of the companies to ensure that their packaging, labelling, advertising and promotional materials of food products are in compliance with the Food Regulations 1985.


  • Certification is subjected to renewal every two years. Renewal may be submitted six months prior to the last day of the validity of the certificate.
  •  If the nutrient criteria are still met, the certificate may be renewed for another two years. For products which changes in the formulation, the company would need to re-apply them as new applications.
  • The certification will be terminated immediately if the company fails to renew their certificate.
  •  Upon the expiry of the certificate, food companies will be given a period of three calendar months to remove the Logo from the products.The products with HCL design can no longer exist in the market after that. Also, the products with expired certificate will be automatically removed from the database.
  • Late renewal will be treated as a new application.


  • The use of the logo will be terminated if: o the product no longer meets the nutrient criteria and these guidelines; o the product found not to be compliance to the Food Regulation 1985; or o the certificate is not renewed.
  • Upon termination or expiry of the certificate, the company will no longer hold the right to use the HCL. The company must stop using the logo in the next production.
  • The company will be given a period of three calendar months to remove the Logo from the products. The products with HCL design can no longer exist in the market after that.
  • If the company fails to comply, a written warning will be issued. Legal action may be taken against them. Any application from this company will not be accepted for 2 years.
  • Participating companies are expected to adhere strictly to the guidelines.


  1. The companies are mandatory to submit the packaging/ advertising/ promotional materials to HCL Secretariat for review and approval.
  2. The application will take 7 working days for approval.
  3. The companies have to take the responsibility on all advertisements that have been published.
  4. If the companies do not meet the advertising codes, HCL Secretariat will give a warning letter to the companies and if still fail, application/ renewal of HCL is not accepted for 2 years.
  5. All materials submitted are not returnable and are kept for MOH’s records.
  6. The colour and artwork of the logo on the promotional materials should conform to logo format.
  7. A specific HCL statement shall be displayed at the packaging/ advertising/ promotional materials to educate the consumers that HCL products are healthier options within the same category. Refer to Appendix 1: Nutritional Guidelines on Nutrient Criteria for Healthier Choice Logo Malaysia for the specific statement declaration for each food group and product category.

For any enquiries, please contact:

HCL Secretariat Nutrition Division Ministry of Health Malaysia Level 1, Block E3, Parcel E Federal Government Administration Centre 62590 Putrajaya

Tel: 03-8892 4503;

Fax: 03-8892 4511/1

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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  • Malaysian food and beverage products are high quality and export-ready. The potential is endless – let’s take it global!