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J Am Diet Assoc. 1990 Jun;90(6):847-51.

Developing nutrient criteria for food-specific dietary guidelines for the general public.

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  • 1Division of Human Development and Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455.


Consumers are asking for specific information about which foods and, in particular, which brands of packaged foods to choose when they eat or purchase food. Point-of-purchase nutrition intervention programs that identify specific foods in restaurants and grocery stores are particularly promising community-based strategies for providing that type of information. However, such strategies demand consistent criteria for determining which foods and/or products should be labeled. This article describes the process of developing and validating criteria and the subsequent uses of the criteria in community nutrition intervention programs. Steps in the process include (a) identifying the scientific basis for the criteria, (b) developing food-group-specific nutrient criteria based on a referent meal pattern, (c) developing the eligibility of single servings of specific foods for labeling based on the nutrient criteria of the food group to which the specific food belongs, and (d) validating the criteria by reviewing actual food products in the grocery stores and restaurants. We conclude that the use of criteria provides a consistent standard for evaluating specific foods and food items in nutrition evaluation programs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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