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Can J Diet Pract Res. 2002 Summer;63(2):55-60.

Food information programs: a review of the literature.

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Cantox Health Sciences International.


This paper summarizes existing evidence on the impact of food information programs. Published and unpublished literature produced within the past decade was searched and reviewed. Relevant data were tabulated and key findings summarized. Food information programs are becoming increasingly popular as tools to help consumers select a healthy diet. The key feature of a food information program is a package logo on foods meeting nutrition criteria set by the program s administering body. The logo acts as a health message. Several countries, including Canada, have adopted food information programs. Critics believe that these programs oversimplify the concept of healthy eating, that consumers misinterpret the logo s meaning, that licensing fees prohibit small companies from participating, and that the programs are limited to purchase behaviour and do not necessarily have an impact on dietary intake. Consumers report support for the programs and are able to interpret a logo s meaning accurately. In addition, evidence shows the programs have had a positive impact on the nutrient composition of foods. Research is still needed, however, to establish the impact of such programs on food purchases and dietary intake, and the overall and long-term effectiveness of the programs as a nutrition intervention.

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