The background of the workshop was the proposed EU legislation to regulate nutrition and health claims for foods in Europe. This regulation will require the development of a science-based nutrient profiling system in order to determine which foods or categories of foods will be permitted to make nutrition or health claims. Nutrient profiling can also be used to categorize foods, based on an assessment of their nutrient composition according to scientific principles. Today, various nutrient profiling schemes are available to classify foods based on their nutritional characteristics. The aim of the workshop was to discuss the work developed by ILSI Europe's expert group and to explore wider scientific aspects of nutrient profiling, including their relative effectiveness, strengths and weaknesses. In particular, the focus of the workshop was on scientific approaches to the development of nutrient profiles for the purpose of regulating nutrition and health claims. The 76 workshop participants were scientists from European academic institutions, research institutes, food standards agencies, food industry and other interested parties, all of whom contributed their thinking on this topic. The workshop reached a degree of agreement on several central points. Most participants favored a food category approach rather than an 'across the board' system for nutrient profiling. Most also felt that nutrient profiling schemes should focus on disqualifying nutrients, while taking into due account relevant qualifying nutrients. Levels of each nutrient should be clearly defined for all food categories to be profiled. Reference amounts selected for further considerations were: (1) per 100 g/100 ml, (2) legislated reference amounts, and (3) per 100 kcal. The majority of workshop participants agreed that nutrient profiling schemes should allow for a two-step decision process; step (1) identify which nutrients to take into account, and step (2) define the thresholds for these nutrients. All participants agreed that an objective validation should be conducted before implementation of nutrient profiling. This would include determination of sensitivity and specificity using "indicator foods" selected on their potential to affect major health issues. The management of any adopted system needs to allow it to be dynamic over time and revise the system when new scientific knowledge emerges. The majority of participants favored a food category approach rather than an 'across the board' system. Further work is required to identify the final list of qualifying and disqualifying nutrients for any food category that may be identified and for the selection of optimal reference amounts. It is essential that key stakeholders continue to communicate and work together on the complex issues of nutrient profiling.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nutrient profiling is a highly pressing issue. However, as there are currently various nutrient profiling schemes it may be difficult to maintain an overview. We therefore developed a simple visual model where the various choices that can be made are indicated. This allows for easy comparison of existing schemes. The model is available in PowerPoint format and attached as a separate file to this paper (see Supplementary files under Reading Tools online).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nutrient profiling is a method of ranking the healthiness of foods based on their nutrient composition. Many existing systems have been developed for regulatory purposes, such as the assessment of the suitability of foods to bear health claims or to be advertised to children, but increasingly profiling is being used to educate consumers via front-of-pack labelling. Most of the existing models have been developed for individual foods in retail settings, not for whole meals available in foodservices. To be effective and justifiable, nutrient profiling models must be science-based, transparent and demonstrate that they are comprehensible and useful to consumers. A case study of a new Heart Foundation Tick programme in Australian foodservices is presented. This paper also reviews existing international profiling systems and discusses some of the issues and challenges for application in meal services, such as compliance with standards, ensuring food safety and credible and effective means of communication.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study aimed to measure the extent of use of front-of-pack daily intake (DI) labelling across food categories in Australian supermarkets, and assess the level of compliance with the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) guidelines. Surveys of six supermarkets in the Illawarra region of New South Wales were conducted twice a year in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The number of products with DI labelling increased from 58 in February 2007 to 1939 in August 2009 and appears to be growing strongly. The greatest number of products with the labelling are in the biscuits and crackers, cooking sauces, breakfast cereals, ice cream, soft drinks, processed meats, frozen foods, snack foods, juices and confectionery categories, but labelling is present in almost all categories, with the exception of milk products. Approximately 75% of products complied strictly with the AFGC guidelines, with most non-compliance being issues of minor layout differences. The DI labelling system is now widely present in the Australian market across most food categories, however further research is required to determine how useful the DI label scheme is in helping consumer choice.
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