See also: Related OurFood News


Food Advertising

It is unclear how child's behaviour is affected by the comprehension by the intends of food advertising. Research conducted by the broadcast advertising regulator, Ofcom, in 2004 raises this important question.

Promotional material in television programming

Advertising remains the main source of finance for EU TV broadcasters. The EU report from the Commission examined the development evolution in current practices, such as product placement spot advertising, the handling of different techniques, such as interactive advertising, split screen techniques and virtual advertising to see whether they are used and whether specific regulation exists.

The preliminary results of the study show that these new techniques are in their infancy, and have not, as yet, a real financial impact on media advertising revenues. Indeed as the figures show, between 96-99% of all advertising revenue across the different media is still on traditional advertising.

For scheduled broadcasting, the Commission proposes to remove red tape, make existing rules more flexible for new forms of advertising, and encourage self- and co-regulation. Instead of detailed prescriptions on how often and under which conditions programmes may be interrupted by advertising, the modernised Directive would simplify the existing EU rules.

In the future, broadcasters would be able to choose the best moment to insert advertising in programmes, rather than being obliged, as they are now, to allow at least 20 minutes between advertising breaks.

However, the quantity of advertising would not be allowed to increase as the Commission proposes to maintain the existing 12 minutes per hour ceiling.
The new Directive would also support new forms of advertising, such as split-screen, virtual and interactive advertising. Product placement would, for the first time, be explicitly defined and provided with a clear legal framewk. [2]

Except in news, current affairs and children's programmes, clearly identified product placement would be permitted in Europe, both in linear and non-linear audiovisual services. To prevent surreptitious advertising, consumers would be infmed at the start of a programme that product placement is in use.

These new rules should remove legal uncertainty, provide additional funding for European productions and thus enhance the competitiveness of Europe's audiovisual sect. [3]

The "Television Without Frontiers" Directive (TVWF Directive) rests on two basic principles: the free movement of European television programmes within the internal market and the requirement that television channels, where practicable, reserve over half their broadcasting time for European works ("broadcasting quotas").

The proposed revision of the Television Without Frontiers directive 89/552/EEC partially lifts regulations on advertising and product placement. Junk food marketing may thus be legal during minor broadcasting times and contribute to elevated obesity.

Product placement is the paid-for placement of goods in movies, shows and even news programmes. Product placement is currently illegal in most EU states.

The watchdog Which? analysing marketing devices Soft drink and junk food product used to persuade children to demand high-fat high-sugar junk foods has found a number of products carrying misleading labels inadequate information about nutritional content and actively promoting themselves as perfect for lunch boxes can be classed as potential lunch box material such as:

Capri Sun Blackcurrant drink having lots of blackcurrants shown on the front of the pack when in actual fact it contains only 5.1 per cent of blackcurrants. There is a similar amount of apple content (4.9 per cent) but this is only mentioned on the back of the pack. [4]

During a discussion about children's diets and the promotion of food launched by the UK FSA one study was presented which found that the more a child watched food adverts on television, the more snacks and calories they ate. It was stressed that the diet being advertised is far from a healthy nutritious one: fun, fantasy, taste are the lures. [5]

Under the newly proposed Television Without Frontiers Directive, companies will not be allowed to use product placement in children's programmes, although prime-time family television will be exempt from this rule.

Junk-food advertisers use to pay sports and pop celebrities to endorse foods, many of them being not properly balanced diets. [5]

The Union of European Beverages Associations (Unesda) said some of its members would stop advertising soft drinks to children under the age of 12.

According to UNESDA the development of obesity is related to a number of different contributing facts. The genetic make-up of an individual plays a key role in the development of obesity countries.

Physical activity levels have fallen so dramatically so that even despite consuming lower energy intakes, we are still, on average, eating too much for our needs despite falling total calorie consumption. [6]

Television advertising of food and drink products to children in UK

Ofcom found it appropriate and necessary to adopt restrictions intended to reduce significantly the exposure of children under 16 to advertising of food containing high fat sugar and salt (HFSS).

Ofcom's co-regulatory partners, the Broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Advertising Standards Authority, are now responsible for implementing the new scheduling and content rules and securing compliance respectively. The new rules will form part of the BCAP Television Advertising Standards Code.

Scheduling restrictions

The scheduling restrictions will now come into effect on a phased basis for all channels, as follows: The Food and Drink Federation and the Advertising Associationt is campaignin to prevent the imposition of a 9pm watershed on advertising HFSS foods These organisations argue that the most popular programmes with kids are not aimed at their age-group,and regulation restrictions around programmes made for the under-10s are ineffectual.

The Advertising Association reports that there has been a shift in the nature of food advertising on television in the last three years away from HFSS foods and says that it is building on self-regulation in order to avoid the imposition of new regulations. [8]

Junk food adds in USA

The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Federal Trade Commission considered restrictions on junk-food advertising aimed at kids, but those efforts were blocked by food, toy, broadcasting, and advertising industries. The FCC adopted rules limiting the amount of time that could be devoted to commercials during children's programs and banning such practices as selling by the host and program-length commercials. Congress rejected the idea and cut the funding for the agency. FTC to demand information on food and beverage marketing to kids [10]

CSPI says that with rates of obesity at all-time highs in children, now is the time to set standards on what foods may be marketed to kids on television and in schools. CSPI also recommends that governments sponsor media campaigns that encourage healthy eating and physical activity, and that grocers put low-nutrition foods at parents' eye level, not kids' eye level.

The Federal Trade Commission report on "Children's Exposure to TV Advertising in 1977 and 2004"

According to a notice on April 2007 of the Commission informations are requested from food and beverage industry and quick-service restaurant companies in the United States. On June 01, 2007 the Federal Trade Commission report on Children's Exposure to TV Advertising in 1977 and 2004 concluded that children were exposed to 9% less food ads in 2004 than in 1977. The Report says that today's children see more promotional ads for other programming, but fewer paid ads and fewer minutes of advertising on television, according to a report released today by the staff of the Federal Trade Commission. The research looks at television add exposure for children in the year 2004 and compares it to similar research from 1977.

The American Psychological Association report

The American Psychological Association on February 23, 2004 called for the government to restrict ads aimed at children under 8. The APA report recommended:
- Governmental action to protect young children from commercial exploitation through advertising.
- Making sure disclosures and disclaimers in advertising directed to children are in language easily understood, such as "you have to put it together,"rather than "some assembly required".
- Investigating how young children comprehend and are influenced by advertising in new interactive media environments such as the Internet.
- Examining the influence of advertising directed to children in the school and classroom.

According to the research of the American Psycological Association (APA) in 2007 children under the age of eight are unable to critically comprehend televised advertising messages and are prone to accept advertiser messages as truthful, accurate and unbiased. This can lead to unhealthy eating habits as evidenced by today's youth obesity epidemic. The report recommends that advertising targeting children under the age of eight be restricted.

The IOM Report

The Institute of Medicine Report 2005 (IOM) written for Congress calls for major changes in the way the food, beverage, restaurant, and entertainment industries approach food advertising aimed at children, because kids under the age of 12 are influenced by food advertising and have poorer diets because of it. The report concludes that there isn't enough scientific evidence of a direct causal link between food marketing and obesity in children, however, the association is strong.

The report recommends that if the industry does not move to a healthier advertising, the Congress should pursue legislation that would mandate changes in both broadcast and cable television. Other countries such as Norway and Denmark, have already restrictions on television ads aimed at kids under age 12 for years. US is lacking behind European countries when it comes to protect individuals from the proliferation of the industry lobby.

The reaction of the industry

In 2007 major US manufacturers have agreed to stop advertising junk foods to kids. NBC Universal combats advertising unhealthy snack and junk foods to children blocking these adds on its children's programming by June 2008. According to the CSPI, voluntary measures are promulgated by advertising- and food-industry groups whose main goals are to forestall serious government action and to generally make life easier for advertisers. Unfortunately the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission are also more oriented to protecting business than helping parents and protecting children. [14]

The International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO)

The International Association for the Study of Obesity is an umbrella ganisation for national obesity associations. In 2002, the International Association for the Study of Obesity and the International Obesity TaskForce (IOTF) merged. The IOTF as part of IASO is working with partners in the Global Prevention Alliance to support new strategies to improve diet and activity and prevent obesity and related chronic diseases with a special focus on preventing childhood obesity. [16]

According to International Obesity Task Force head Profess Philip James, the governments should use the health clauses allowed under WTO rules to protect people's health. He regrets failure of the Doha Development Agenda in 2006 which aimed to free global trade by cutting industrial and agricultural tariffs and by reducing farm subsidies, with a special focus on achieving concrete benefits for developing countries.

James argues that unchanged farm policies could continue to damage people's health due to overproduction of oil, fat and sugar, largely due to government subsidies to protect farm industry revenues.

Call for ban of junk food advertising at the International Congress on Obesity in Sydney 2006

IASO president Profess Claude Bouchard calls for a ban of advertising junk foods and non-nutritious foods aimed at children. He sees junk food as the core of the problem of obesity. Australians federal Health Minister Tony Abbott, however, ruled out banning junk food commercials, saying it is parents' responsibility to monit what their children eat.

Profess Arne Astrup, a Danish expert on obesity, suppted banning junk food commercials referring to the good results of banning trans fatty acids in in Danish food.

Marketing of food and non-alcoholic beverages to children on Press and TV promotes obesity epidemic [18]

The World Health Organization WHO is deeply concerned about the high and increasing prevalence of noncommunicable diseases together with the communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries.

In 2010 it is estimated that more than 42 million children under the age of five years will be overweight or obese, of whom nearly 35 million are living in developing countries, and also concerned that in most parts of the world the prevalence of childhood obesity is increasing rapidly.

The WHO stresses that unhealthy diet is one of the main risk factors for noncommunicable diseases and that the risks presented by unhealthy diets start in childhood and build up throughout life. Unhealthy diets are associated with overweight and obesity. Children should maintain a healthy weight and consume foods that are low in saturated fat, trans-fatty acids, free sugars, or salt in order to reduce future risk of noncommunicable diseases. Food advertising to children is extensive and other forms of marketing of food to children are widespread across the world. A significant amount of this marketing is for foods with a high content of fat, sugar or salt. Television advertising influences children’s food preferences, purchase requests and consumption patterns.

The WHO urges to implement the recommendations on the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children following the action plan for the global strategy for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases to the Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly.

Whole foods: Foods that are part of a healthy diet are “whole foods” and can be marketed to children without restriction. Whole foods are those belonging to the following food groups, with no added sweeteners, sugar, salt, or fat: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, meat, poultry, eggs, nut and seeds, and beans. In the case of beverages, the recommendation is clean potable water.

Other foods: Other foods can be marketed to children insofar as they comply with the following two criteria:
Provide at least 50% by weight of one of the food groups listed in item 1 and do not exceed the following amounts of sugars, saturated fats, trans fatty acids (TFA), or salt:
- Total sugars: ≤ 5.0 gr / 100 gr of solid food or ≤ 2.5 gr / 100 ml of beverage,
- Saturated fats: ≤ 1.5 gr / 100 gr of solid food or ≤ 0.75 gr / 100 ml of beverage,
- Trans fatty acids (industrially produced TFA): 0.0 gr / 100 gr of solid food or 100 ml of beverage,
- Salt ≤ 300 mg / 100 gr of solid food or 100 ml of beverage.
Two additional criteria complement the above scheme: First, naturally occurring nutrients such as sugar and saturated fat in milk products do not count against the limits. Second, beverages containing noncaloric sweeteners cannot be advertised to children.

Marketing and brand exposures on young children influences taste preferences.

According to Robinson and colleagues 2007 children preferred the tastes of foods and drinks if they thought they were from McDonald's. Greater effects of branding among children with more television sets in their homes and children who ate food from McDonald's more often were found.

The authors conclude that branding of foods and beverages influences young children's taste perceptions, urging to regulate marketing to young children. The researchers suggest branding as a useful strategy foe improving young children's eating behaviours.

The White Paper on nutrition, overweight and obesity.

The white paper on A Strategy for Europe on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity related health issues was adopted by the European Commission on 30.05.2007. It is based on the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, initiated in 2005, and green paper on promoting healthy diets and physical activity 2005. The paper contains principles for action and partnership approach. It focuses better-infmed consumer, allowing them to make informed, evidence-based decisions about what foods to buy to tackle obesity. [20]

The Commission's preference, at this stage, is to keep the existing voluntary approach at EU level due to the fact that it can potentially act quickly and effectively to tackle rising overweight and obesity rates. [20]

Voluntary efforts to ensure adverts aimed at children should be combined with rules at the level of individual member states, such as those recently implemented by the Office of Communication in the UK. Industry has already taken important steps but these have not always been uniform across products and Member States. Some Member States are encouraging reformulation of foods, for example in terms of their levels of fat, saturated and trans fats, salt and sugar. [20]

All these refmulations (and there are only few of them) took place under heavy pressure of consumer associations retailers fearing bad publicity.

The CIAA has fought against being seen as a scapegoat for obesity and welcomes the White Paper, enforcing physical exercise to reduce obesity, and refers to its own Brochure [21] [22]

Eurocommerce, speaking for its members, welcomes the White Paper stressing the importance of education programme in schools, since nutrition and healthy lifestyle education should start at an early age. [23]

The European Consumers Organisation BEUC, however, says the White Paper is disappointing because it relies on revision of nutritional labelling. Advertising of food for children is mentioned vaguely about partnerships and voluntary measures, with a review in 2010.

BEUC says what consumers urgently need is simple and understandable on-pack labelling to help them make the most appropriate nutritional choices, since they cannot rely on advertising. Promotion of foods high in fat, sugar and salt for children exerts pressure on parents, but the solution, relies on the source of pressure on advertising. [24]

The 100-calorie packs

Introducing 100-calorie packs was a good idea. The portion control may help consumers control their cravings. Its the good feeling when the empty container is discarded.

However, according to CSPI Executive Direct Michael F. Jacobson. 100-calorie packs cost, on average, about two-and-a-half times as much per ounce as similar products in larger packages.

Shoppers may not notice the price differences since most varieties of 100-calorie packs are priced similarly to a box of cookies crackers, at about 3 USD per box. But consumers who want to control their weight, could save money by dividing their regular box themselves if they are worried about downing the whole container. Better yet, they could skip the junk foods altogether and reach for a piece of fruit.

Eating regularly in some fast-food chain outlets is unsafe in many parts of the world according to a study presented at the 15th European Congress on Obesity Budapest.

[26] [27]
Food quality and ption sizes need to be improved dramatically, according to the Copenhagen University research group, led by Prof Steen Stender, who found major variations in the quality of products offered by the same chains across 35 countries.

Fast foods examined in the global survey were found to have not just a high fat content, but also up to 17 times the level of trans-fatty acids legally permitted in Denmark, which introduced a ban in 2004. Business directs deliberately breaching the Danish restriction could face stiff fines and up to two years in jail.

Countries with unsafe foods

Eastern Europe fared particularly badly in the survey with Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland and the Czech Republic topping the table with levels of unhealthy trans-fats accounting for 29-34% of the fat content.

Countries meeting the Danish standard

Fast food in India, Russia, Spain and in Scotland met the Danish standard requiring less than 2% of the total fat content in a product to be trans-fats.

Wide discrepancies with McDonald's food

Checks on McDonald's also revealed wide discrepancies, with the highest percentage of trans-fats found in Oman at 20%. In the United Kingdom, samples in London, Glasgow and Aberdeen reached 15-16%, with levels of 14-15% in Hong Kong, Poland and South Africa, compared to 14-16% found in US outlets.

After analysing 74 samples of French fries and fried chicken (nuggets/hot wings) bought in McDonalds and KFC outlets in 35 countries in 2005 and 2006, they concluded that the idea that a typical fast-food meal was the same worldwide was "a myth".

According to Prof Arne Astrup the companies selling foods with high levels of trans-fat disregard customers' health. They will only really respond when there are regulations as tough as they are in Denmark.

Recommendations to Fast Food chains

The authors suggest fast food chains should provide reliable nutritional information, which requires better standardisation of the foods used and recommend suppliers take action to reduce portions to "normal" sizes and eliminate industrially produced trans fat, as well as offering burgers made of lean meat, whole grain bread/buns, fat-reduced mayonnaise, add more vegetable, lower-fat fried potatoes and reduced-sugar soft drinks.

International code needed to protect children from Internet and TV marketing Excesses

IOTF mediarelease, September 5 2006

Youngsters should be protected from exploitative marketing techniques used on the internet as well as from television advertising as part of an all out bid to halt the rise in childhood obesity, according to a new report from the public health think tank, the International Obesity TaskForce released today. [28]

With the global epidemic of obesity already triggering the development of type 2 diabetes in increasing numbers of children, the IOTF, part of the International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO), said an internationally enforceable code was needed to give clear principles for governments, industry and others to follow.

IASO agreed during its International Congress on Obesity taking place in Sydney, Australia, this week, to demand a ban of all advertising of junk foods and non-nutritious foods aimed at children.

The call to action is also being considered by members of the Global Prevention Alliance, a consortium of concerned NGOs. The Alliance includes the World Heart Federation, the International Diabetes Federation, the International Pediatric Association and the International Union of Nutritional Sciences, led by IASO. It works to combat childhood obesity and obesity-related chronic disease through high level policy initiatives, with a global network of national Alliance groups.

The proposal calls on WHO member states to ask WHO to take the lead, with other UN agencies, governments, international partners and other stakeholders, to develop international standards to protect children.

Alongside the think tank rept, an IOTF group today launched its draft recommendations - the Sydney Principles - proposing a range of actions that governments, the private sector and international bodies like WHO should take. These include proposals that government should:

Profess Boyd Swinburn, President of the Australasian Society for the Study of Obesity, who convened the IOTF group which developed the proposals, said: "At the moment, the need to protect children from commercial exploitation was being largely overlooked by the food and advertising industries. We need to recognize that everyone in society has a responsibility to ensure we provide healthy environments for children, and also to seek the highest standards."

They would be inviting feedback from the congress delegates in Sydney, and was consulting widely with interested parties, before publishing a final paper on its findings.

The IOTF report highlighted the failures of self-regulation favoured by industry, because self regulation lacked the means to control the "cumulative effect" of intense marketing targeting children. Dr Tim Lobstein, coordinat of the IOTF's childhood obesity working group, and author of the new report, said that powerful evidence was emerging of the way in which advertising games on the internet were being used to bypass even the present minimal standards of conduct adopted by food and beverage advertisers.

Research undertaken by the Kaiser Family Foundation in the USA found that 85% of businesses advertising to children on television also had interactive websites for children promoting branded products, which incorpated not only games but promotions, using viral marketing techniques, membership opportunities, as well as movies and television tie-ins. [29]

Over 12.2 million children had visited commercial websites promoting food and beverage products over a three month monitoring period last year. In the UK the Food Commission found that most major food brands had sites designed to attract children as young as six years old.

A separate new analysis of the use of the internet to target children has revealed that even existing weak voluntary advertising codes are being breached routinely on websites targeting children. "While the regulators, even the industry itself in various countries, through self- regulation, has regulated advertising to children and pledged responsible marketing to this segment, the same advertisers appear to forget the promises as soon as they are advertising online. As such, they are in breach of the spirit of the current self-regulaty provisions that apply to other forms of marketing communications", a team of marketing experts from the Middlesex University Business School concluded in their report, Analysing Advergames: Active Diversions Actually Deception. [30]

The Middlesex report highlighted the use of pressure to purchase, with some websites requiring purchases before children could play online games, and one popular children's sweet brand requiring children to find the magic code. "This practice would appear very dubious, as this practice appears to clearly entice young consumers to purchase the products - a point that is clearly ruled out in the code of conduct," the authors observed. Viral marketing downloads and links from advergames to corporate websites were "against the spirit of the self regulation system's provisions," they added.

The authors concluded: "While it is relatively easy to control the content of television and print advertising, controlling the content of online advertising, and advergames with different levels in particular is a lot more complex and demanding on a regulator. At the same time the global reach of the internet throws open the question who should ultimately regulate such websites, and which code of conduct should they follow?"

The need for WHO to deal with the issue of marketing to children was recognized in the WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health approved unanimously by ministers at the World Health Assembly in 2004. WHO is preparing to publish a report on marketing to children after it convened a conference and expert consultation held in Oslo in May 2006; WHO is also inviting European Health Ministers to adopt a Charter on Obesity in November, which will include reference to the marketing issue.

"The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child requires that children should be protected from economic exploitation and also defines how the advertising world should not take advantage of the gullibility of children."

"We need to take a much firmer position in tackling this. If we are to succeed in the halting the global epidemic of childhood obesity, we must challenge all governments, the whole of the business world, and society at large to join with us in tackling this together," said Neville Rigby, director of policy and public affairs of the IASO. The IOTF briefing on marketing to children is available for download from the IOTF website: www.iotf.g

IOTF paediatric cutoffs questioned by L D Voss

Paediatric cutoffs from the age of 2 years for overweight and obesity, based on adult thresholds published by the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) were questioned by L D Voss and colleagues, saying that until we understand more about which children acquire such risk facts, any such thresholds for overweight and obesity should be used with caution in the very young, as they may unnecessarily stigmatise the heavier child.

Other IOTF associated activities against obesity

EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health

Under the leadership of the Commission was launched in 2005, bringing together industry associations, consumer groups, health NGOs and political leaders to take voluntary action to halt and hopefully reverse the rise in obesity, particularly among children. Poor diet and lack of exercise are among the leading causes of avoidable death in Europe.

World Heart Federation

The World Heart Federation is committed to helping the global population achieve a longer and better life through prevention and control of heart disease and stroke, with a focus on low and middle-income countries. It is comprised of 189 medical societies and heart charities from more than 100 countries.

The World Heart Federation members and partners run the World Heart Day 2006, taking place on Sunday 24th September.

The International Diabetes Federation

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is the only global advocate for people with diabetes and their healthcare providers. We work together with our member associations to enhance the lives of people with diabetes worldwide. Our mission is to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide.

IDF has evolved into an umbrella organization of over 190 diabetes associations in more than 150 countries. IDF is a non-governmental organization in official relations with the World Health organization.

International Pediatric Association


IOTF - SCOPE programme

The IOTF - SCOPE programme is a major initiative to tackle the growing epidemic of obesity with a campaign for improved medical education and a new register of obesity expertise in Europe The IOTF - SCOPE programme (SCOPE stands for Specialist Certification of Obesity Professional in Europe) will recognize and encourage high standards for top rank obesity clinicians.

Estradiol may switch on eating disorder genes

According to Klump and colleagues 2010, estradiol is an estrogen which regulates gene transcription important for eating-related genes in puberty. The authors report that afternoon saliva samples which were low for estradiol levels monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twin correlated with all body dissatisfaction and binge eating/compensatory behavior subscales of the Minnesota Eating Behavior Survey (MEBS scales) suggesting little genetic influence. Whereas high estradiol levels presented MZ twin correlation more than double of the DZ twin correlation, indicating genetic effects of estradiol.

The authors suggest that estradiol may switch on the genes for eating disorders. Better understanding of estradiol physiology may lead to new treatments of eating disorders, say the authors.

The Minnesota Eating Behavior Survey

[38] The Minnesota Eating Behavior Survey is a brief measure of disordered eating attitudes and behaviours. It is a 30-item questionnaire developed for use with children as young as 10 years as well as adults to be used in cross-sectional and longitudinal research involving individuals of a wide range of ages.

The Portman Group's Fourth edition of the Code of alcoholic drinks into effect since January 2008

The fourth edition of the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks came into full effect on 1 January 2008. The Code seeks to ensure that products are marketed in a socially responsible way and only to an adult audience. The Code applies to all pre-packaged alcoholic drinks and covers the drink's naming, packaging, point-of-sale advertising, brand websites, sponsorship, branded merchandise, advertorials, press releases and sampling. Television, radio and non-broadcast advertisements are regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The Portman Group's Code is consistent with the ASA's rules.

How the brain can be fooled by anticipating messages

Dr Jack Nitscke from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that subjects were led to believe that a highly aversive bitter taste would be less distasteful than it actually was.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging were used to demonstrate that expectancy modulates neural responses in humans. the primary taste cortex was less strongly activated.

This study published in the journal Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity demonstrates how anticipation of sensory input can influence the human brain to react in a prescribed way.

The power of anticipation can help in the treatment of certain psychological conditions, but also helps the food marketing to turn the expectation of the product higher as the product in reality has to offer.

Pavlovian conditioning and food advertising

[41] John P. O'Doherty and colleagues found that food preferences are acquired through experience and can exert strong influence on choice behavior. In order to choose which food to consume, it is necessary to maintain a predictive representation of the subjective value such as a name brand of the associated food stimulus.

In a study published in 2006, the scientists found a Pavlovian conditioning association in subjects using blackcurrant, melon, grapefruit, and carrot juices and a tasteless, odourless control solution. Pavlov conditioning was first studied in dogs associating a stimulus such as a bell with food. The authors say that associating brand items with other rewarding appetite stimuli accounts for efficacy and power of advertising.

This study demonstrates the dangers of food advertising in the hands of global players conditioning buyers to certain brands such as baby food, liqu, snacks and sweets.

Debate over advertising children's products

[42] [43] Many cereal companies, among them Kellogg's, are promoting ready to eat breakfast as a healthier option compared with kids who skip breakfast eating nothing.

In a study leaded by Kellogg's schoolboys eating Kellogg's Cornflakes were more energised and alert than those who hat eaten nothing. The TV spot claimed:
"Research shows that when they eat a cereal like ours, kids are on average 9 per cent more alert."
"Alertness measured by parents, comparing 63 children eating Kellog's Corn Flakes to 34 children skipping breakfast."

The UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) suggested to compare children who ate Kellogg's Cornflakes with those eating their normal breakfast.

The ASA found that the research behind it was not 'robust enough' and claims it contained were 'misleading'. ASA asked Kellogg's not to show the television advert.

Other ads were found to be backed on researches which were not rigorous enough to justify the claims:
St.Ivel's "advance milk", suggesting the product could make children cleverer.
Fla pro.activ claiming the product keeps blood vessels healthy as well as lowering cholesterol.
All ads were asked to be pulled.

The industry has proposed a so called fourth solution which proposes a ban on food and drink advertising on terrestrial channels at times when children are likely to be watching television and a restriction on the amount of food and drink advertising on children's satellite/digital and cable channels.

The industry tries to avoid an all-out ban which would be damaging to the food and advertising industries and the broadcasters.

UK advertising business in compliance with the Advertising Codes

[44] [45]
Content rules on advertising food and drink products to children came into effect in July 2007 and their aims to avoid adverts of poor nutritional habits or unhealthy lifestyle in children, and encourage excessive consumption. Also the use of licensed characters, celebrities, or promotional offers should be avoided.

According to the Advertising Standards Authority's survey, held in July 2007, an extremely high compliance rate, with 99.2% of ads surveyed deemed to be compliant with the Advertising Codes was found.

This should encourage other countries to tighten the rules on advertising of junk food to children.

The Federal Trade Commission bars deceptive or misleading claims of Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats

The Federal Trade Commission announced that the Kellogg Company has agreed to settle charges that advertising claims touting a breakfast of Frosted Mini-Wheats as "clinically shown to improve kids' attentiveness by nearly 20%" were false and violated federal law. The proposed settlement bars deceptive or misleading cognitive health claims for Kellogg's breakfast foods and snack foods and bars the company from misrepresenting any tests or studies. The FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz. calls on America's leading companies to be "attentive" to the truthfulness of their ads and don't exaggerate the results of tests or research

The CSPI, commenting the settlement, states that Kellogg could improve children's attentiveness phasing out the use of Blue 1, Blue 2, Red 40, and any other synthetic food dyes present in some varieties of Mini-Wheats. Those dyes exacerbate some children's hyperactivity and behavioural problems [47].

Exagerating the results of studies like the Kellog's claims, undermines the confidence of the consumer on the producer and brings the advertising industry into discredit.

Food labelling

Statutes governing food labelling are codified in the United States Code (U.S.C.). Administrative agency regulations implementing the statutory requirements are codified in the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.).

History of US Food Labelling Regulation



Federal regulation of food labelling began in 1906. The Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906, which covered all foods except for meat and meat products, included limited provisions related to food labelling. Primarily, false misleading label information was prohibited, and a net contents statement was required for foods in packaged form. In implementing this law, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (and its predecess agencies) had no authority to adopt substantive labelling requirements.


The Caustic Poison Act, lobbied through Congress in 1927 by Dr. Chevalier Jackson and the American Medical Association, required labels to warn parents and protect children from accidental injury and death caused by lye and 10 other caustic chemicals. In 1960 thousands of other chemical products for home use came under FDA control when the Hazardous Substances Labeling Act was passed. To administer this law and subsequent amendments which expanded it, FDA developed an effective consumer safety program. With the passage of the Consumer Product Safety Act, in 1972, the FDA Bureau of Product Safety became the operating organization of a new independent Consumer Product Safety Commission.


The 1906 Act was replaced in its entirety by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDC Act) of 1938, thereby beginning the modern era of federal regulation of food labelling. In addition to prohibiting false misleading information, the FDC Act included requirements that the label of a food product bear a statement of product identity, net contents declaration, ingredients declaration, and identification of the manufacturer, packer, distributor.


A drug tragedy in Europe, the births of thousands of deformed infants whose mothers had taken the new sedative thalidomide triggered the release of the Drug Amendments of 1962. Drug firms were required to send adverse reaction reports to, and drug advertising in medical journals was required to provide complete information to the doctor - the risks as well as the benefits.


The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 (NLEA) amended the FDC Act and added several important elements of the food label. For the first time, nutrition labeling ("Nutrition Facts") was required for essentially all packaged foods. Federal requirements for nutrient content claims


The Food Labeling web pages address the labeling requirements for foods under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act and its amendments.

Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements

The Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements (ONPLDS) is responsible for developing policy and regulations for dietary supplements, nutrition labeling and food standards, infant formula and medical foods as well as for scientific evaluation to support such regulations and related policy development. dms/onplds.html

Industry information Guidance and Regulations

All relevant regulations regarding food labelling in US is available at the site of the Regulations related to nutrient content claims, comparative claims, health claims, nutrition labelling, small business food labelling excemption, import and export regulation. dms/lab-ind.html

Center for FoodSafety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN)

Overview and history of and the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Common nutrition labelling scheme

The EU Directive Council Directive 90/496/EEC of 24 September 1990 on nutrition labelling for foodstuffs to be delivered as such to the ultimate consumer There have been initiatives to settle a common nutrition labelling scheme to guide the consumer to a better understanding of the nutritional facts demanded by this directive. [49]

New study rises doubts on effectiveness of portion size information labelling

Ueland and colleagues 2009 examined the relation of portion size information to the consumer's satiety and intake. They note that portion size is used differently by food manufacturers, regulatory agencies, and consumers. They found that consumer associate portion size more with daily nutrient requirements than with an ideal amount that would be appropriate to eat.

The EU and the Codex

[49] [51] [52]
The Codex and the EU with the Directive 90/496 considered distinctively servings and portions as the additional information per 100 g/ml. Within this regulation, it was implicit that servings related to a unit which has to be divided in a given number of servings, and portions came already in the desired size. The Commission is working on a new proposal 2008/0028 (COD) which will replace the directive 90/496. The term "portion" will be used to replace "servings".

Growing confusion

Nutritional information presented on food labels may refer to "per portion" or "per serving" in addition to a "per 100g" quantity. However, the size of a portion is determined by the producer.

The traffic light labelling scheme

To make it easier for the consumer to choose healthy foods, the colours were introduced. In the UK the traffic light labelling scheme has been under attack from the industry. The Food and Drink Federation claimed, that red for salt in 100 g, may get yellow, or even green, when size of servings are kept are kept accordingly low.

Guideline daily amounts (GDA) per serving

Guideline daily Amounts (GDAs) are guidelines for an average person with a healthy weight and an average level of activity. Individual needs vary depending on your sex, weight, activity levels and if you are still growing. The food industry favours the guideline daily amounts (GDA) per serving. If there red colours turn up, the size of the portion is reduced. The consumer eats according to his appetite. He is becalmed by the green colours and takes an extra portion.

Portion Size informations

Serving informations should not be misleading and be based on realistic portion sizes. Some companies label unrealistic serving sizes in order to achieve low nutritional values, such as the frozen fish food with a weight of 400 g. The nutritional informations were calculated on portions of 150g. What happens with the rest of 100 g after consuming two portions? My advice to the producer is to label realistic portions of 200 g and to use the FSA colour code for their front-of-pack nutritional signpost labelling.
Image Trader

The Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD)

IGD helps the food and grocery industry develop a consistent context for determining portion sizes. The group, in a recent report, stresses that portion size is an important determinant of nutritional content. The Institute stresses that we tend to eat the portion on the plate in front of us, and this has led to calls for a reduction in the size of products that are high in saturated fat and sugar, however, reducing the size of packs leads the consumer to eat more packs. Energy density information are therefore important factors of intake behaviour.

Research program to find the best nutrition labelling scheme

FLABEL (Food Labelling to Advance Better Education for Life), is an EU-funded research programme on nutrition labelling.

The research program wants to determine the influence on the consumer of food label on dietary choices, and also the impact of different labelling schemes Nutrition table, Traffic Light scheme, Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA), Health Logos and others.

European Food Information Council (EUFIC) research on nutrition labels

EUFIC, in a 2004 research on consumer expectations of nutrition labels, found that most consumers do not find nutrition labels user-friendly. They are therefore inclined to ignore them. According to the study, consumer focus groups found front of pack energy information as a true innovation and one that they would like to see on all packs, it would spare time when shopping, by giving a quick overview of the nutritional quality of the product.

Declaration per 100 g easier comparison between products

The EUFIC study found that, regarding front of pack flags, the expression of calorie content per 100g allowed for easier comparison between products, whilst calories per portion made calculation of actual intake easier, as long as the size of a "portion"was well defined. The vast majority of respondents agreed that energy information was the right focus, and was understood by most people to be linked to weight control. However, some consumers, particularly those in the older age groups, felt that information about salt and fat content was also important.

The EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health

The EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health (2008) stresses that modifying portion sizes can help to reduce over-consumption. The Platform suggests reduction of the portion sizes, but sees it as not a realistic strategy due to objections from both consumers and producers. Another strategy is the introduction of smaller sized products along the existing range, as well as limiting their energy density such as the "light" range, or to introduce artificial stopping points subdividing large packages into smaller sub-packages, or by introducing internal sleeves.

The way of the industry and advertising business, however is the reduction of portion size on the nutritional labelling, and not on the total size of the packaging.

European Food Information Council (EUFIC)

According to an EUFIC consumer research conducted in 2004 many consumers do not understand the language and the principles of nutritional measurement and the nutrition labels do not play a real role in their assessment of the nutritional qualities of foods the management of their diets.

However, calories are widely understood. Energy intake was identified as the nutritional information concept that is the most widely understood across different European markets.

EUFIC tested young adults, families and the elderly in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to determine if communicating energy-based concepts on the front and back of products increases consumer engagement and understanding of nutrition information.

Different energy-based information concepts, like front of pack 'calories per 100g'to a 'full option' that included energy information in relation to daily energy needs for men and women, calories per portion and the amount of exercise needed to burn off the calories contained within the product.

EUFIC concluded that the consumer sees the front-of-pack flags as a true innovation and liked them immediately. Most consumers would like to see them on all packs. The front-of-pack flags were clearly seen as a complement and certainly not a replacement for the current back-of-pack nutrition labels.

CIAA The Nutrition Labelling Scheme

In July 2006, the Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of the EU (CIAA) launched an initiative recommending front-of-pack and back-of-pack nutrition labelling, based on a uniform list of nutrients, nutrition information per serving and the introduction of Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs). The CIAA scheme, recommended as a voluntary system, has been developed in line with the requirements of current EU legislation (Directive 90/496/EC):


Clear statement of the Calories per serving, along with the percent GDA these Calories represent.


Inclusion of three elements:
  1. List of nutrients (energy, protein, carbohydrate, sugars, fat, saturated fat, fibre and sodium/salt)
  2. Nutrition information per serving, in addition to the required 100g /100ml
  3. GDAs for the public-health sensitive nutrients - energy, fat, saturated fat, sugars, sodium/salt.

Mislabelling Misdescription of foods

Mislabelling does not normally give rise to safety issues; nevertheless, when done deliberately it constitutes the crime of fraud. [60]

The name of foods such as chocolate, milk, margarine,must comply with certain compositional regulations. Food compositional legislation lays down compositional rules f: [61] In other cases like fish fingers (coated cod fillets ready for frying) there may be no such standards but the food still needs to be described accurately and should not be misleading.

The consumer has a right to be confident that the product matches his expectations concerning diet and health, personal taste and preferences, cost. Misdescribed foods may deceive the consumer. On the other side misdescribed can create unfair competition with the honest manufacturer and have a great financial impact.

Food authenticity is all about whether a food matches its description refering to its name, its ingredients, its origin processes undergone.

Common wrong labellings are:

Italian olive oil scandal [62]

According to "La Republica" 22 dec 2011, four out of five bottles of extra-virgin Italian olive oil are cheap, less aromatic olive oil from Greece, Spain, Morocco and Tunisia. Italian companies import these oils for less then 25 cents, mix them with a small amount of Italian oil and sell it for up to 4,00 euros per kilo to supermarket chains abroad, to tourists and to wholesale trade.

The olive oil used for such "blends" is of low quality and contains often traces of mould and lubricating oil. La Republica says that it is a 5 billion euro/year business. Ongoing investigation by customs authorities and tax police are difficult, because the business is often handled by subsidiaries of the same companies that import the oil to Italy and sell it. Labels lack any reference to the blend or the correct origin of the oil and the characters are too small to be read by an average consumer. La Republica did not reveal the name of the corporations or brands of the faked products because of the ongoing investigations.

Food marketing terms

Marketing terms are widely used to mislead the consumer about the real qualities of the product. Many terms are tolerated by authorities because they are insignificant and cannot be stopped by lawsuit. However, they undermine the confidence of the consumer. Some of these terms are: 'Style' and 'selected' Scepticism was an overriding response to many common marketing terms. Does not contain preservatives additives. 'No preservatives added' , Home made, Handmade, Farmhouse, Real, Fresh, Pure, Natural, Traditional, original, Authentic, Premium, Finest, Best, Quality, Selected, Export quality.

High Fructose Corn Syrup HFC products may not be labelled as "natural"

[63] [64] [65]
According to FoodNavigator the suggested products containing High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) should not be labeled as "natural". HFCS is a cheap sweetener and preservative made from cornstarch. It is used in foods like yoghurt with fruits, soda,ketchup dressings. It is high in calorie and low nutritional value. agent supervisor of the Product Evaluation and Labeling team at 's Office of Nutrition, Labeling and Dietary Supplements, Geraldine June, does not consider HFCS natural as synthetic fixing agents in the enzyme preparation often used oppose the use of the labelling term "natural". According to June a product containing HFCS should not be labeled as "natural".

Guidance on the use of marketing terms on food labels

[66] The Food Standards Agency of UK issued the Guidance on the use of eight marketing terms on food labels in 2002 entitled "Criteria for the use of the terms fresh, pure, natural etc. in food labelling".

Its aim was to produce an advice on use of terms to help: This advice should not be taken as an authoritative statement interpretation of the law, as only the courts have this power. Ultimately, only the courts can decide whether, in particular circumstances, an offence has been committed.

FSA assessed the impact of this guidance in 2005 .
The FSA found that consumers considered quality, finest, handmade and original the four easiest phrases to understand in the context of food labelling.

The terms "quality", "finest" and "home made", were more likely to influence purchase decisions where two similar products were being compared.

However, 31 per cent of people look after the brand when making a purchase decision and 25 per cent felt the ingredients were the most important piece of inormation. Only 6 per cent of people claimed that the product descript, such as natural, fresh pure, was the most important piece of information. Only 14 per cent claimed to ever look at this on food packaging. [67]

UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)

The Advertising Standards Authority is the independent body set up by the advertising industry to police the rules laid down in the advertising codes. The strength of the self-regulaty system lies in both the independence of the ASA and the suppt and commitment of the advertising industry, through the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), to the standards of the codes, protecting consumers and creating a level playing field for advertisers. [68]

The ASA's mission is to apply the advertising codes and uphold standards in all media by being a customer focussed, best practice regulat, where expertise is valued and shared.

ASA and the consumers

The ASA helps the consumer in situations which needs to stop misleading offensive advertising, to ensure sales promotions are run fairly to reduce unwanted commercial mail and resolve problems with mail der purchases.
The ASA judges advertisements, direct marketing and sales promotions against a set of Codes.

ASA and the marketing industry

The UK marketing industry's system of self-regulation helps to ensure that consumers continue to accept advertising and that advertising remains effective: honest advertising helps to keep customers coming back.

In the UK, the rules for advertising are the responsibility of the advertising industry through two Committees of Advertising Practice: CAP (Broadcast)and CAP (Non-broadcast). CAP (Broadcast) is responsible for the TV and radio advertising codes and CAP(Non-broadcast) is responsible for the rulebook for non-broadcast advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing.

ASA and the new media

New media includes mobile phones, handheld computers (also known as Personal Digital Assistants PDAs), electronic kiosks, electronic posters and computer games and the World Wide Net. The ASA ensures that non-broadcast advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing in new media meet the British Code of Advertising,.

Claims companies make on their own websites, for example, do not fall within the scope of the Code. This is because the ASA does not rule on the editial content of publications, except where space has been paid for to promote a product, service cause. The ASA also recognises a distinction between media that consumers have chosen to access and material that they have not purposefully sought out to view.

FDA food labelling and nutrition overview [69]

These FDA Food Labelling web pages address the labelling requirements for foods under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act and its amendments. Food labelling is required for most prepared foods, such as breads, cereals, canned and frozen foods, snacks, desserts, drinks, etc. Nutrition labelling for raw produce (fruits and vegetables) and fish is voluntary. The FDA refers to these products as "conventional" foods. The FDA provides detailed information on dietary supplements, on special claims and on a variety of questions related to labelling at:

Advertising in UK: The Code

Non-broadcast advertising

In the UK non-broadcast advertising is regulated by the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the Code) is the rule book for non-broadcast advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing communications (marketing communications).

The Code applies to

Broadcast advertising

Broadcast advertising is split into two main sections - Television and Radio.

Radio Advertising Standards Code

The Radio Advertising Standards Code sets out the rules that govern advertisements on any radio station licensed by Ofcom. The rules are framed to ensure that advertisements are 'legal, decent, honest and truthful' and do not mislead cause harm serious widespread offence.

TV Advertising Standards Code

Television Advertising Standards Code sets out the rules that govern advertisements on any television channel licensed by Ofcom. The rules are framed to ensure that advertisements are 'legal, decent, honest and truthful' and do not mislead cause harm serious widespread offence.

TV Advertising of food and soft drink products to children

A draft of the guideline is already available. [73]

New rules part of the BCAP Television Advertising Standards Code and the new rules on scheduling restrictions on TV advertising of food and drinks

[74] [75]
Ofcom issued extended restrictions on the television advertising of food and drink products high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) including programmes and channels aimed at children aged under 16.

Rules in Annex 4 of this Statement apply to all food and drink advertising to children irrespective of when it is scheduled prohibiting the use of licensed characters, celebrities, promotional offers and health claims in advertisements for HFSS products targeted at pre-school primary school children. [76]

According to Which? a 9 pm schedule should be observed for these restrictions.

The Food and Drink Federation FDF argues that the regulations were based on scientifically flawed nutrient profiling model.

The restrictions will come into effect in April 2007 regarding HFSS advertisement for children aged four to nine. In January 2008 this restriction will be extended to HFSS advertising to children under 16.

According to Leech of Ofcom, the TV advertising has a modest, direct effect on children's food choices and is only one among many influences. He addresses the food and drink industry which, together with government, have to add their part to solve the obesity issue.

Responsible for the implementation of the content rules and their compliance are the Broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Advertising Standards Authority.

OFCOM new rules o television advertising of food and drink products to children in UK

Ofcom has concluded it is appropriate and necessary to adopt restrictions intended to reduce significantly the exposure of children under 16 to high fat, sugar and salt foods (HFSS) advertising.

Ofcom's co-regulatory partners, the Broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Advertising Standards Authority, are now responsible for implementing the new scheduling and content rules and securing compliance respectively. The new rules will form part of the BCAP Television Advertising Standards Code.

Scheduling restrictions

The scheduling restrictions will now come into effect on a phased basis for all channels, as follows: Children's channels will be allowed a graduated phase-in period, with full implementation required by the end of December 2008.

Content rules

The reaction of the advertising industry

The Food and Drink Federation and the Advertising Associationt fight to prevent the imposition of a 9pm watershed on advertising high fat, sugar and salt foods These organisations argue that the most popular programmes with kids are not aimed at their age-group, and regulation restrictions around programmes made for the under-10s are ineffectual. Both organisations say that they follow self-regulation in order to avoid the imposition of new regulations.

OFCOM UK advertising regulations is far better than US self regulation

There are three industry-funded US organizations engaged in developing technical guidelines. According to their homepage they are devoted to the following goals: Finally, the Federal Trade Commission, which is in charge of advertising affairs in US, has indicated it won't restrict food advertising on children's television.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) says that the CARU's technical guidelines do not consider the nutritional quality of foods. The CSPI has therefore threatened litigation to protect kids from junk-foods ads in 2006. Actions against the marketing practices of Kellogs and Viacom (a kid-friendly network) are running [81]. CSPI legal affairs direct Bruce Silverglade says that British regulations issued by OFCOM, are far superior than the situation in the US, where the Federal Trade Commission continues to support a failed self-regulaty system. [82].

The lawsuit on Mercury and acrylamide

Attorney General Bill Lockyer on August 26, 2005, filed suit against nine manufacturers of potato chips and french fries, seeking a court order that will require the firms to warn consumers that some of their food products contain acrylamide, a chemical known by the state to cause cancer.

Lockyer's complaint alleges the companies have violated Proposition 65, a landmark ballot initiative enacted by voters in 1986. The law requires businesses to provide "clear and reasonable" warnings before exposing people to known carcinogens reproductive toxins.

U. S. Food labelling

[84] Food labelling foods under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act and its amendments is required for most prepared foods, such as breads, cereals, canned and frozen foods, snacks, desserts, drinks, etc.


The Nutrition Labelling and Education Act (NLEA) of 1990 demands:

Allergenic foods

The Labelling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 added a requirement, effective Jan. 1, 2006, demands:

Nutrition labelling for raw produce (fruits and vegetables) and fish

Raw produce (fruits and vegetables) and fish are referred to as "conventional foods". Their nutrition labelling is voluntary.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) argued that because acrylamide is present in food as a natural byproduct of the cooking process, it has been present in the food supply and safely consumed for years.

Bill Lockyer also suited fish food processs saying that there were no warning concerning the presence of mercury in these foods.

The judgement on acrylamide and mercury suit

Judge Robert L. Dondero, California Superior Court Judge, decided that trace levels of mercury in tuna do not require warning labels under the state's Proposition 65 law, because virtually all the methylmercury in tuna is naturally occurring, and that tuna companies would be in violation of federal law if they were required to issue Proposition 65 warnings to consumers, and that the amount of mercury in canned tuna is already lower than the arbitrary limits established by Proposition 65.

Misleading claims

Advertising and labelling often associates fruit juices with sugar sweetened drinks even bearing little or no juice at all.
Welsh and colleagues (2002) examined the association between sweet drink consumption and overweight among preschool children. The authors concluded that reducing sweet drink consumption might be one strategy to manage the weight of preschool children. [85]

Marcella L. Warner and colleagues in a study in 2006 call for interventions to reduce consumption of soda in young Mexican-American children because the prevalence of overweight in a group of Salinas 2 years was significantly associated with current soda consumption. [86]

Vasanti S. Malik and colleagues found in 2006 that a greater consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight gain and obesity and call for public health strategies to discourage consumption of sugary drinks as part of a healthy lifestyle. [87]

Jean Welsh and William Dietz found in a study published 2005 that the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with increased weight gain and increased risk of development of type 2 diabetes in women and suggested that the association may be the result of excessive calorie intake from sugar-sweetened beverages and increased availability of large amounts of rapidly absorbable sugars.[88]

The American Heart Association recommends to reduce added sugars, including sugar-sweetened drinks and juices. [89]

Code of Federal Regulations 21CFR101.22 Foods; labeling of spices, flavorings, colorings and chemical preservatives.

[90] It seems that some food manufacturers do not follow these regulations.

Advertising and labelling should have ethics in mind and use self-regulating instances to avoid misleading informations.

Some organizations which are watching misleading claims on foods for children

Marketing of food to children

The British Hospitality Association (BHA), British Retail Constium (BRC), Food Advertising Unit (FAU), Food and Drink Federation (FDF), National Farmers' Union (NFU) and the Incorpated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) said they would act together to try and tackle the problem of childhood obesity.

The FDF, for example, however, is keen to ensure that parents, rather than the government, have the final word on what is good bad for their children.

Advertise of unhealthy foods predominate in magazines

Jean Adams and Martin White assessed advertise of foods in UK weekly magazines. They found unhealthy foods such as ones which were low in carbohydrates and low in fibre, had high percentage of sugars, high content of sodium.

A high percentage of the advertising foods were rich in fat/sugar such as ice-cream, chocolate bars, sweets and full sugar soft drinks. They were generally much higher in sugar and salt, and lower in fibre than the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations. Healthy foods like vegetables and fruits are not backed by big advertising budgets of food corporations.

The author point to the fact that Advertising in magazines may play a role in food choice and adiposity. They deplore that advertising in print media received little research attention compared to food advertising on television. They advice the consumer to take care not to be duped by magazine ads that promote unhealthy diets.

Examples of misleading packaging design

A heavy commercial campaign promoted fruit nectar on television showing oranges and tropical fruits and children quenching their thirst with healthy drink suggesting 100% fruit juice. The list of ingredients of fruit nectar, however, reveal a high calic content and low fruit juice: Tap water would be better to rehydrate the body in the summer avoiding lean calories. A typical list of ingredients for fruit nectar is:


Water, fruit juice (25%), sugar, glucose-fructose syrup.

Bravo Red orange

The front and back side of the packaging is loaded with orange pictures suggesting that this product was made of pure orange juice. In fact, only 30% of juice was used and 70% are water and sugar.

Image Red_orange
bravo red orange rich in vitamin C

Hidden declaration on one side in small letters:
Red orange Juice drink with vitamin C.
Juice content minimum: 30% from red orange concentrate.


Water, red orange juice, sugar, acidifier: citric acid, vitamin C, aroma, colour: carmoisine.
Energy: 194,8 kJ 45,8 kcal
Carbohydrates: 10,86 g Vitamin C : 30 mg/50% RDA


The nectar contains about 7g added sugar/100g. Added sugar accounts for 61% of total calories. Adding vitamin C does not counterbalance the danger of overweight.

Confusing layouts

They all look as if they were pure fruit juice.
Frucht-Oase = 100% juice
labamba EXOTIC = 50% Juice
Punica Tropical = 35% Juice
Image Juices

Cheating labels

Food Watch unveiled cheating labels of well-known brands in Germany. Somehow the mentioned products meet the specific labelling rules, however, the really cunning side of the story is that the German and the European commission issued these rules on request of the food industry lobby.

Looking at the list published by Food Watch it becomes obvious that most of the cited products are junk food which are not in line with the fundamentals of healthy nutrition.

Here are highlight of the of the Food Watch Cheating Foods List:

Capri-Sonne, Wild/Sissi-Werke

Food Watch reports that the original product in the small aluminized bag contains only 12% of fruit juice. The succeeding Crapi-Sonne in the squeezing bottle reduced the content of juice further down to 10% the pictured fruits suggest pure juice or at least, a very high content of fruit juice. In fact 90% are water, sugar and other ingredient. Mainstream consumers do not have the time to read the ingredients list and are not aware of such watering. EU legislators have accepted labelling low fruit juice products as "Nectar" or "Fruit juice preparation" (Fruchtsaft Zubereitung), on the back label. Some consumer associate "nectar" with a particular high quality and do not know it contains only a fraction of healthy natural juices.

Fruit Nectar in European juice regulation

Fruit nectar may be added with 20% of sugar. Up to 14% of sugar were added and still can claim , mean that 14% sugar (70 g sugar in a 500 ml bottle) may be added and still complies with EU labelling regulations and is entitled for the claim "30% less sugar than average nectares".

The USA regulation

In the USA, fruit juice can only legally be used to describe a product which is 100% fruit juice. A blend of fruit juice(s) with other ingredients, such as high-fructose corn syrup, is called a juice cocktail or juice drink. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the term "nectar" is generally accepted in the U.S. and in international trade for a diluted juice to denote a beverage that contains fruit juice or puree, water, and which may contain artificial sweeteners.

Sugar bombs

The German magazine Stern warns against sugar bombs which increase the risk of obesity. Stern stresses that a recent study of food Watch showed that many sweets marketed for children are neither healthy nor light. They are filled with lots of sugar. German girls are getting fatter. In 2001 5.5% were overweight, this fraction grew to 11% in 2005, following a study of the OECD.

In this context Food Watch cites the Chocolate Bar "Kinder Choco Fresh" from Ferrero, containing enthalte 39.7% sugar which equals almost four times that of Coca Cola. Ferrero answered in a statement given to the magazine Stern, that the arguments of Food Watch were "very unilateral" their sweets were indulgence products and are being consumed as such. Other products like chocolate are found to have the same or even an higher amount of sugar. It should be taken into account that the size of servings are low [99].

Chocolate puddings

The Spiegel Online cites Food Watch complaining about the labelling of the chocolate amount in the Pudding "Pur Choc" from Dr. Oetker. The pudding claims to have 75% of cacao in the chocolate. Food Watch, however, says that there are only 2.5% of chocolate in this pudding. There are only 1.875% of cocoa in the whole package to be hailed.

Other products on the Food Watch list


Fitness Fruits, Nestlé

Food Watch criticizes the sugar content of 30% of the flakes.

Kinder-Riegel, Ferrero

According to Food Watch children have to eat 13 bars to cover the daily requirement of calcium, claimed by Ferrero.

Langenese Milchzeit, Unilever

Food Watch writes that the ice is a sweet which distracts children to drink a glass of milk.

Active O2, Adelholzener

Food Watch finds no power boost as claimed by Adelholzener.

See all products criticized by Food Watch at

Universal Ethical Code for Scientists

[101] The UK Government Chief Scientific Advis, Sir David King, gave a presentation on the Universal Ethical Code for Scientists - Rigour, Respect and Responsibility.

The code has three key aims: It covers the natural sciences and also the wider disciplines of social, medical and veterinary sciences and mathematics.

Some comments include not committing plagiarism condoning acts of plagiarism by others; ensuring that work is peer reviewed before it is disseminated; reviewing the work of others fairly; ensuring that primary data that may be needed to allow others to audit, repeat build on work, are secured and sorted.

To access the code, go to:

Packaging design with pictured fruits make junk food look healthy

CSPI says that the Gerber Products Company, owned by Nestlé, has drawn harsh criticism from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on December 22. S. Court of Appeals for using pictures of real fruit to market a gummi-bear-like candy formerly called "Fruit Juice Snacks".

The use of the words "Fruit Juice" juxtaposed alongside images of fruits such as oranges, peaches, strawberries, and cherries was challenged. Appellants contended that this juxtaposition was deceptive because the product contained no fruit juice from any of the fruits pictured on the packaging and because the only juice contained in the product was white grape juice from concentrate. [103]

The Court found the labelling deceiving because it presented images of oranges, cherries and strawberries, though the leading ingredients are corn syrup and sugar. the Court stated consumers should not be "expected to look beyond misleading representations on the front of the box to discover the truth from the ingredient list in small print on the side of the box."

According to Bruce Silverglade, CSPI director of legal affairs, the Court's decision is a warning to all companies that try to make junk food look healthy by depicting nutritious fruits, vegetables and whole grains on the labels of sugary, high-calorie snacks.

Food advertising hurting religious feelings

Dr. Pepper, a soda company released the "evolution of flavour" ad. It shows a chimpanzee which has developed to a modern man experiencing the taste of Dr. Pepper soda. Creationists feel offended in their religious feelings and express their repulsion to the advertisement and to the evolution theory of Darwin. It is the utmost power of advertising to attract the public attention using controversial topics. However, ethics and religion ads should be carefully analysed before going public in order not to offend others believes. [104]

Little scientific evidence supporting corn oil health claim.


The petition

The FDA received a health claim petition dated April 28, 2006, by ACH Food Companies, Inc., requesting that the agency authorize a qualified health claim characterizing the relationship between the consumption of corn oil and corn oil-containing products and a reduced risk of heart disease.

This petition proposed as model qualified health claims:
"Substituting corn oil for solid fats may reduce your risk of heart disease."
"Substituting corn oil for fats high in saturated fat may reduce your risk of heart disease."
"Scientific evidence establishes that including cornn oil-containing foods in your diet may reduce your risk of heart disease. To achieve such benefits, include slightly less than 1 tablespoon (12 grams) of corn oil per day in your diet while not increasing calories, saturated fat cholesterol. One serving of this product contains x grams of corn oil. Although there is scientific evidence supporting the claim, the evidence is not conclusive."

FDA conclusion

The FDA concludes that there is sufficient evidence for a qualified health claim, provided that the claim is appropriately worded so as to not mislead consumers. Thus, intends to consider exercising enforcement discretion for the following qualified health claim:

"Very limited and preliminary scientific evidence suggests that eating about 1 tablespoon (16 grams) of corn oil daily may reduce the risk of heart disease due to the unsaturated fat content in corn oil. The FDA concludes that there is little scientific evidence supporting this claim. To achieve this possible benefit, corn oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day. One serving of this product contains (x) grams of corn oil."

The appropriate disclosure statement "See nutrition information for total fat content." must be included on the label and comply with 21 CFR 101.13(h).

Nutrient profiling of food

The WHO / FAO contribution


Definition of nutrient profiling

Nutrient profiling refers to a range of different mechanisms for classifying foods according to their nutritional value - varying from a simple definition of "low fat" being less than 3 g to the much more complicated nutrient profiling model recommended to inform the restrictions on advertising to children in the United Kingdom. Nutrient profiling can be defined as "the science of categorizing foods according to their nutritional composition". It can be used to communicate effectively with consumers the nutritional implications of their purchasing decisions.

There are a number of reasons why it might be important to distinguish between "unhealthy" and "healthy" food, including: The WHO on regard of nutrient profiling stresses that manufacturers already use different forms of systems to justify their marketing strategies. A uniform system would help consumers make their choice.

Preparation and use of food-based dietary guidelines

The Consultation of the WHO and FAO in 1996 specified the scientific basis for developing and using food-based dietary guidelines to improve the food consumption patterns and nutritional wellbeing of individuals and populations, and recommended that dietary guidelines be based on, and aim to improve, current dietary practices and prevailing diet-related public health problems, rather than be based on nutrient requirements and recommended intake levels.

UK Food Standards Agency: Nutrient profiling research 2004

The FSA during their nutrient profiling research in 2004 developed an approach to developing nutrient profiles. The Agency needed a model model to redress the current imbalance in the way foods are currently promoted to children.

A scoring model was recommended that takes account of energy, saturated fat, non-milk extrinsic sugars, and sodium, and the degree to which these nutrients are balanced by calcium, iron, long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and fruit and vegetable content.

The model therefore identifies foods high in fat, salt or sugar, while recognising the important contribution of dairy, meat, fish, and fruit and vegetable based products to a balanced diet.

The flexibility provided by the scoring system means that the model could be adapted to suit a range of applications.

A theoretical approach to developing nutrient profiles

The development of nutrient profiles necessarily involves a number of stages:

Category-specific nutrient profiling of foods

Nutrient profiling of foods, described as the science of ranking foods based on their nutrient content. It plays a role in regulating nutrition labels, health claims, and marketing and advertising to children. There are different models of nutrient profiling developed by research scientists, regulatory agencies, and by the food industry.

Some nutrient profiling are based on nutrients to limit such as calories, fat, sugar, saturated and trans fatty acids, and salt.

An example of this is the FSA traffic lights labelling of UK. The EU Commission is likely to choose the front of packaging system without the use of colours and does not classify foods in good, neutral or bad. Others make good diet choices such as guidelines like MyPyramid in the US.

Others have emphasized nutrients known to be beneficial to health, or some combination of both. European nutrition and health claims requires that only foods with favourable nutrient profiles should be allowed to make claims. This fuels the debate about the concerns from the food industry that nutrient profiling models disqualify some categories of foods.

To avoid this Drewnowski suggests to create profiles that are category-specific, rather than across the board.

Some of these nutrient profile models are often tailored to specific goals, the development process ought to follow the same science-driven rules. These include the selection of: It is extremely important that nutrient profiles be validated rather than merely compared to prevailing public opinion. Nutrient profiling should aim to help consumers make good diet choices.

A reference method for the validation of the nutrient profiling schemes using dietary surveys

Volatier and colleagues 2007 say there is a lack of scientific validation of nutritional profiling schemes. To develop a reference method using existing dietary surveys, to define a set of indicator foods that are positively or negatively associated with a "healthy diet". Such indicator foods can be used both for establishing relevant nutrient profiles and for the validation of existing or future nutrient profiling schemes.

The authors propose a validation method based on food and nutrient intakes of adults participating in national dietary surveys in five EU countries: Belgium (n = 2,507), Denmark (n = 3,151), France (n = 1,474), Ireland (n = 1,379), and Italy (n = 1,513).

The characterization of indicator foods

The "healthy diets" of individuals are identified in the five national dietary surveys by comparison to the Eurodiet reference intakes.

Indicator foods associated positively or negatively to the "healthy diets" are determined. With a P-value of 10(-3) for the test of comparison of food intakes between the "most healthy eaters" and the "less healthy eaters," in the five countries.

The authors call for further work to build a list of indicator foods that could be considered as a "gold standard".

UK Traffic Light and food

Front-of-pack nutrition labelling: Food Traffic Light for a better food choice in UK.

The red, amber and green colour coding used in the traffic light system provides easy-to-understand advice on foods that have high, medium and low amounts of saturated fats, sugars and salt.

Another system currently being used by some manufacturers and retailers is based on percentages of Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) of fat, sugar and salt (for example a portion contains 35% of your GDA of salt).According to FSA chair Deirdre Hutton the FSA traffic light system and the GDA system may be compliment to each other. Here are some examples :

IGD published guidelines for voluntary nutrition labelling including the use of GDAs (Guideline Daily Amounts) for men and women, for calories, fat and saturated fats in 1998. They were developed following collaboration between government, consumer organisations and the food industry. However following industry and consumer research in 2003 IGD established a GDA Technical Working Group to revise the current values and to extend the guidelines to include GDAs for carbohydrates, total sugars, protein, fibre, salt and sodium for men, women and children.

The GDA system tells consumers the percentage of the adult male Guideline Daily Amount of the four key nutrients that each product contains.
GDAs publications are free to download:

Salt, sugar and labelling

Salt reduction reduces sugar in formulations in cereals

[112] According to the managing direct of Kellogg's Europe, Tony Palmer, it is not easy to take 25% of the salt out of cornflakes because salt interacts with sugar. Reducing salt, sugar starts to taste sweeter and has to be reduced too. Sugar helps keep the flakes crispy and is part of the bulk. Reducing the salt the risk is that the cardboard carton tastes better than the crisps.

Reducing salt and sugar can, however, improves the product not only from the nutritional side, but may also become a gain in acceptance due to the improved taste of the corn. This could be targeted in commercials changing nutritional habits towards a healthier breakfast.

Dr. Tom Sanders says that breakfast cereals served with semi-skimmed milk, are low energy meals that provide about one fifth of the micronutrient requirements of children and should be encouraged. Portion size as it is being eaten but not dry weight nutritional facts should be considered. Dr. Sanders is professor of nutrition at King's College London, leading scientist of the OPTILIP trial and acting as a consultant to the cereal manufacturers, says that traffic light labels misclassifies unfairly breakfast cereals. [113]

The technical guidance for the front-of-pack nutritional signpost labelling

The UK Food Standards Agency has published Issue 2 of the approach and underpin the traffic light colours.

The guidance includes criteria for breakfast cereals and sugars red (high) criteria,to better identify foods that are healthier options due to high levels of fruit.

The four core elements of the logo

- Separate information on fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt.
- Red, amber green colour coding to provide at a glance information on the level (i.e. whether high, medium low) of individual nutrients in the product.
- Provision of additional information on the levels of nutrients present in a portion of the product.
- Use of the nutritional criteria as set out in this document to determine the colour banding.

Additional informations
- Information on Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) and calories can be provided.
- The signpost should clearly indicate if information on the levels of nutrients present in a portion is as sold as consumed.
- Any other messages about nutrients should be separate from the signpost bearing information about fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt.

The Colours

FSA example of fron-of-pack labelling:
Image Colours

Table 1 - Food (per 100g whether or not if they are sold by volume)
  Green (Low) Amber (Medium) Red (High)100g Red (High)portion
Fat ≤3.0 g/100g > 3.0 to ≤20.0 g/100g > 20.0 g/100g > 21.0g/portion
Saturates ≤1.5 g/100g > 1.5 to ≤5.0 g/100g > 5.0 g/100g > 6.0g/portion
Sugars ≤5.0 g/100g > 5.0 to ≤12.5g/100g > 12.5g/100g > 15.0g/portion
Salt ≤0.30 g/100g > 0.30 to ≤1.50g/100g > 1.50 g/100g > 2.40g/portion

Per Portion

In addition to the per 100g criteria, there are "per portion" criteria for food. The per portion criteria ensure that any food which contributes me than 30% (40% for salt) of an adult's recommended daily maximum intake for a particular nutrient is labelled red (high).

Labelling on drinks
Table 2 - Drinks (per 100ml)
  Green (Low) Amber (Medium) Red (High)
Fat ≤1.5 g/100ml >1.5 to ≤10.0 g/100ml > 10.0g/100ml
Saturates ≤0.75 g/100ml > 0.75 to ≤2.5 g/100ml > 2.5g/100ml
Sugars ≤2.5 g/100ml >2.5 to ≤6.3 g/100ml > 6.3g/100ml
Salt ≤0.30 g/100ml > 0.30 to ≤1.50g/100ml > 1.50g/100ml

The colour code for each nutrient is determined based on per 100g per 100ml of the product. If any nutrient meet the red (high) per portion criteria it must be labelled red (high), regardless of its per 100g profile.

Breakfast cereals and added sugar

The colour code and the nutritional information per portion for breakfast cereals should be based on dry weight of cereal and distinguish between products high in added sugars and those high in sugars due to high fruit content. The sugars colour code should be based on added sugars and that additional presence of sugars from fruit and / milk not included in the colour code should be labelled on the pack.

The Colour Code for Sugars of foods of table 1

The colour code for sugars is determined in terms of both the total and added sugar components as follows:
Green if total sugars are less than equal to 5g/100g.
Amber if total sugars exceed 5g/100g and added sugars are less than 12.5g/100g.
Red if added sugars are more than 12.5g/100g.

Sugar colour code for drinks of table 2

The colour code for sugars is determined in terms of both the total and added sugar: Green if total sugars are less than equal to 2.5g/100ml.
Amber if total sugars exceed 2.5g/100ml and added sugars are less than 6.3g/100ml.
Red if added sugars are more than 6.3/100ml.

Additional text for sugars

Additional text is also required on pack, which is discrete from the signpost, to highlight to the consumer when a product is colour coded amber and also contains sugars from fruit and milk which are not included in the colour code. It is recommended that "contains naturally occurring sugars" "This product has no added sugars but contains naturally occurring sugars." "The colour code reflects the amount of added sugars present." "This product also contains naturally occurring sugars from the fruit."

Added sugars is defined as any mono- disaccharide any other food used for its sweetening properties, such as sucrose, fructose, glucose, glucose syrups, fructose-glucose syrups, corn syrups, invert sugar, honey, maple syrup, malt extract, dextrose, fruit juices, deionised fruit juices, lactose, maltose, high maltose syrups, Agave syrup, dextrin and maltodextrin.

The sugars contained in dried fruit milk powder are not included as added sugars. The sugars in milk powder are not included as added sugars.

Per serving information

The levels of nutrients present in a portion of a product should not be misleading and be based on realistic portion sizes. Where possible, generally accepted portion sizes should be used.

Additional Informations

If information on calories is provided, the Agency recommends this is done in a neutral colour. If companies choose to colour code calories then the Agency recommends "green" reflects the criteria for "low energy" set out in European Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims;

The green/amber (low/medium) boundaries are determined by the European Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on Nutrition and Health Claims, which came into effect on 1 July 2007.

The amber/red (medium/high) boundaries are based on existing advice from COMA and SACN for fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt using 25% of recommended intake levels per 100g and 30% (40% for salt) per portion.

Sugar and salt and labelling loopholes

[115] Which? still finds high sugar and salt levels with 75% of products receiving FSA red labels, and nearly 90% of products targeted at children were high in sugar, 13% high in salt, and 10% high in saturated fat.

Checking for sugar on food labels can be confusing, however. It comes in many different forms: corn sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, glucose syrup, high-fructose glucose syrup, honey, invert sugar, invert sugar syrup, isoglucose, levulose, maltose, molasses, sucrose and sucrose syrup, among others. These can be listed separately but add up. Labelling of total sugar is voluntary, unless on a product claiming to be "low sugar". So, everyone who has high sugar, high salt high saturated fatty acids do not label Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) information in front of packaging.

If you want to go for sure, buy only products with front of packaging GDA's.

However, Melanie Leech, direct general of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) argues that labelling regulations require companies to include a precise description of the sugars used in a product, such as fructose glucose. According to Leech, 15 000 products are already using Guideline Daily Amount information on the front packs, clearly indicating the total amount of sugar in the product - whether added naturally present. [116]

Check how much sugar, fat, saturates and salt is in your foods.

  Sugar Fat Saturates Salt
HIGH over over over over
per 100g 15g 20g 5g 1,5g
MEDIUM between between between between
per 100g 5g 3g 1,5g 0,3g
  and and and and
  15g 20g 5g 1,5g
LOW 5g 3g 1,5g0,3g  
per 100g and and and and
  below below below below

Sometimes the figure you see in the nutrition panel is a total figure for "Carbohydrates", and not for "Carbohydrates (of which sugars)". This means the figure will also include starchy carbohydrates.

So, to get a feel for whether the product is high in added sugars you might also need to look at the ingredients list. Added sugars must be included in the ingredients list, which always starts with the biggest ingredient first. Watch out for other words that are used to describe added sugar, such as sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, hydrolysed starch and invert sugar, corn syrup and honey. If you see one of these near the top of the list, you know that the product is likely to be high in added sugars.

Some foods that you might not expect to have sugar added to them can contain lots, for example some breakfast cereals and cereal bars. Other foods can be higher in added sugar than you might expect, such as tins of spaghetti baked beans.

Choice, the new International front-of-pack labelling

The Choices International Foundation had its start in July 2007. Founder companie are Campina, Friesland Foods and Unilever which is also chair of the International Scientific Committee is advisor to the board.

The foundation introduced a simple front-of-pack stamp on food products that have passed an evaluation against a set of qualifying criteria based on international dietary guidelines based on the Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases. [119]

The initiative is called the Choices programme and has two key objectives:
- To help consumers quickly identify healthier products at the moment of purchase.
- To encourage food industries to improve the composition of their products, thus increasing the availability of healthier foods and beverages and meeting consumer demand.
The new stamp wants to counteract the proliferation of health logos and labels that only further confuse consumers.

Front-of-pack labelling in Europe

In UK it may be used together with the Traffic Lights logo launched by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) with red, amber and green colours assessing each food component.
On the Continent, EU front-of-pack labelling copied the logo from the FSA action, but do not use colour assessing of the components.

Nutrition information front of pack needed

Consumer associations fight for a nutrition label on front on pack to guide the buyer in its choice. This is most important for segment of beverages cereals, dairy products an cookies for children, where extreme high sugar contents are responsible for growing obesity.

The different labelling proposals

Labelling per serving and traffic lights

Horst Seehoven, German Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, is in favour of the declaration of the content in one serving. Consumer organisations reject this proposal alleging that food producers use unrealistic low servings sizes, such as one pizza considered to be two servings. The serving of fish ready to eat meal Fish is being labelled as 150 g. Beverages like Fanta, Cola and other fruit flavoured drinks are calculated on servings of 250 ml. They also use a 2000 calorie diet as a daily energy whereas a daily requirement of 1.700 calories is more appropriate for the normal population. The traffic lights such as proposed by the UK FSA are being opposed by Seehover alleging that products,normally high in fat would be discriminated. Consumer associations say that the minister protects the agrar-industry.

Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) Misleads consumer

GDA means Guideline Daily Amount and shows the amount of calories, sugar, fats and salt etc. in a portion of a food product and the percentage of the guideline daily amount of these nutrients [122].

According to the Campaign "Stop-GDA" the GDA system was created and implemented by the biggest international food companies which produce sweets, chips and soft drinks. GDA is now part of the EU proposal for a regulation on food information and follows the industrial system.

Food companies use the loopholes of the system to play down negative facts of their products. The Stop-GDA campaign therefore strongly recommends the complete removal of GDA from the proposal, both as mandatory and voluntary information.

The campaign unveils some of the weak points of GDA:

GDA does not support healthy eating

GDA gives better scores for diet soda compared with milk. GDA is focused on fats, sugar and salt. Natural and healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits,whole grains, milk, fish and meats contain vitamines, antioxidants and fibre which are absent in most of these products.

Small portion hides the facts

GDA is based on portions. The industry can determine the size of portions used to calculate their GDA. To get low values for their labels theoretical portions are kept ridiculous low. The smaller the portion, the healthier a product looks.

GDA uses daily calories for adults, but not for children

GDA is always based on the 2000 calories needed by a 40 year old woman. The 2000 calories/day are used to calculate the GDA for foods marketed for 2 years old children.

Sugar Reference

Natural sugar occurs in many healthy foods, especially milk and fruits-and it's always accompanied by other vital nutrients. The difference between added sugar (empty calories) and natural sugar which is always accompanied by other vital nutrients. A soda may get better GDA scores as orange juice.
WHO and Nordic Nutrition Recommendations set a daily limit for added sugar at 50 g. The industry and the EU sets a daily limit for total sugar at 90 g (=added + natural sugar).

EFSA regulation on nutrition labelling proposal

The European Commission's new regulation on nutrition labelling proposal, demands the labelling of nutrients as a percentage of reference intake levels. It is similar to the GDA scheme of the food industry with upper reference levels for energy (2000kcal), total fat (70g), saturated fat (20g), total sugars (90g) and salt (6g, or 2.4g sodium) calculated for an average woman. A lower intake limit of 230g for carbohydrates, corresponding to 46 per cent of total energy is, however, set too low for the EU countries, which are generally between 50 and 55 per cent of intake. The panel therefore proposed a labelling reference intake for carbohydrate at 260g, 52 per cent of energy for a 2000kcal diet.


The "Stop-GDA" campaign concludes that Guideline Daily Amount is misleading consumers because of many insoluble system errors. GDA cannot replace mandatory 100 g/ml food labelling, and should not be legitimized by EU - not even as voluntary food information. The campaign urges the complete removal of GDA from the proposal for EU regulation on food information to consumers.

Consumer should fight for the mandatory 100 g/ml food labelling to maintained because it does not contain loopholes. It is the best way to choose a dressing with low fat or a salami with the lowest salt. No comparison is possible if one salami producer uses 15 g as serving and another 25 g, what a mess!

Nutrition Label of the EU

Nutrition labelling is harmonised throughout the European Union. It is optional, but becomes compulsory if a nutrition claim appears on the label or in advertising.

The European Commission issued a proposal for a new Food Information Regulation on 4 February 2008. This proposal follows an EU-wide review of both general food and nutrition labelling legislation, which began in 2004. This regulation will introduce the mandatory labelling of nutrients on the front of pack. [125]

Other regulations on nutrition facts

Council Directive 90/496/EEC of 24 September 1990 on nutrition labelling rules of foodstuffs and amendments.

Nutritional facts label lists of the US

In the U.S., the nutritional facts label lists the percentage supplied required in one day of human nutrients based on the average 2000 calorie a day diet. With certain exceptions, such as foods meant for babies, the following Daily Values are used (CFR 101.9(c)8(iv)). These are called Reference Daily Intake values and were originally based on the highest 1968 Recommended Dietary Allowances for each nutrient.

Nutritional facts labelling in Mexico

Food products sold in Mexico use the NOM-051-SCFI-1994 "Informacion nutrimental" product labelling standard (which is very similar to "Nutrition Facts" in the U.S.)

Labelling in the UK

The traffic light proposal is being supported by the UK Food Standards Agency

Labelling in Canada

In Canada, a standardized "Nutrition Facts" label was introduced as part of regulations passed in 2003, and became mandatory for most prepackaged food products on December 12, 2005. (Smaller businesses were given until December 12, 2007 to make the information available).

Nutrition labelling reduces artificial additives

Front-of-pack labelling is a welcome marketing tool which is an incentive to reformulate food to make them healthier, reducing artificial chemicals such as preservatives, antioxidants, colours, emulsifiers, following the trend to a "clean label".

The WHO/FAO recommendations on nutrient intake

Dietary factor (% of total energy,
  unless otherwise stated)
Total fat 15 - 30%
Saturated fatty acids <10%
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) 6 - 10%
n-6 Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) 5 - 8%
n-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) 1 - 2%
Trans fatty acids<1%  
Total carbohydrate 55 - 75%
Free sugars <10%
Protein 10 - 15%
Cholesterol <300 mg per day
Sodium chloride (sodium) <5 g per day (<2 g per day)
Fruits and vegetables 400 g per day

Additional recommendations of the Joint WHO/ Consultation

Total fat

Total fat energy of at least 20%.

Free sugars

It is recognized that higher intakes of free sugars threaten the nutrient quality of diets.

Non-starch polysaccharides (NSP)

Whole grain cereals, fruits and vegetables to provide recommended intake of >20 g per day of NSP (>25 g per day of total dietary fibre.

Fruits and vegetables

The benefit of fruits and vegetables cannot be ascribed to a single or mix of nutrients andbioactive substances. WHO/ recommend therefore high intake of fruit and vegetables.

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI for an adult 21 - 23 kg/m². For individuals, the recommendation is to maintain a BMI in the range 18.5 - 24.9 kg/m² and to avoid a weight gain greater than 5 kg during adult life.

Physical activity

A total of one hour per day of moderate-intensity activity, such as walking on most days of the week is recommended.

Total energy intake

Reduction of high-fat, high-sugars and high-starch foods reduces total energy intake. Vegetables and fruits reduce the total energy intake and improve the micronutrient intake. Disease-specific recommendations


Measures aimed at reducing overweight and obesity, and cardiovascular disease are likely to also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its complications.
- Prevention/treatment of overweight and obesity, particularly in high risk groups.
- Maintaining an optimum BMI of 21 - 23 kg/m² and avoid weight gain (>5 kg) in adult life.
- Walking) for one hour or more per day on most days per week.
- Saturated fat intake should not exceed 10% of total energy and for high-risk groups, fat intake should be <7% of total energy.
- Regular consumption of wholegrain cereals, legumes, fruits and vegetables, accounting for a minimum daily intake of 20 g non-starch polysaccharides (NSP).

Cardiovascular Diseases CVD

Overweight, central obesity, high blood pressure, dyslipidaemia, diabetes and low cardio-respiratory fitness are among the biological factors contributing principally to increased risk. Unhealthy dietary practices include the high consumption of saturated fats, salt and refined carbohydrates, as well as low consumption of fruits and vegetables, and these tend to cluster together.

To reduced risk of CVD consumption of fruits (including berries) and vegetables, fish and fish oils (eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)), foods high in linoleic acid and potassium, as well as physical activity and low to moderate alcohol intake.

NSP (dietary fibre:)

Dietary fibre is a heterogeneous mixture of polysaccharides and lignin hat cannot be degraded by the endogenous enzymes of vertebrate animals. Water-soluble fibres include pectins, gums, mucilages and some hemicelluloses. Insoluble fibres include cellulose and other hemicelluloses. Most fibres reduce plasma total and LDL cholesterol. A high fibre diet as well as a diet high in wholegrain cereals lowers the risk of coronary heart disease.

Sodium and potassium

Sodium rises blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease and both forms of stroke (ischaemic and haemorrhagic).

Several large cohort studies have found an inverse association between potassium intake and risk of stroke. No supplementation is necessary to avoid CVD. The recommended levels of fruit and vegetable consumption assure an adequate intake of potassium.


The WHO/FAO stresses that research to date has uncovered few definite relationships between diet and cancer risk. Dietary factors for which there is convincing evidence for an increase in risk are overweight and obesity, and a high consumption of alcoholic beverages, aflatoxins, and some forms of salting and fermenting fish. There is also convincing evidence to indicate that physical activity decreases the risk of colon cancer. Factors which probably increase risk include high dietary intake of preserved meats, salt-preserved foods and salt, and very hot (thermally) drinks and food. Probable protective factors are consumption of fruits and vegetables, and physical activity (for breast cancer). After tobacco, overweight and obesity appear to be the most important known avoidable causes of cancer.

Varying nutritional content is no excuse for misleading claims and inappropriate advertising, the Ribena story

GlaxoSmithKline has pleaded guilty to 15 representative charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act by making misleading claims about the Vitamin C content of Ribena, a black currant drink. GlaxoSmithKline was fined $227,500, and dered to undertake a nationwide campaign of reactive advertising in newspapers to explain that some forms of Ribena contain no detectable level of vitamin C.

GlaxoSmithKline's Consumer Healthcare division sells health care products, including a range described as "nutritional drinks," of which Ribena is the most significant.
Claims that ready-to-drink Ribena contain 7mg of vitamin C per 100ml were found to be untrue because testing found no vitamin C in the ready-to-drink product and claims in TV adverts that "the blackcurrants in Ribena have four times the vitamin C of oranges."was misleading consumers.

In 2004 two students, working for a science project, found no detectable vitamin C in Ribena. They notified GlaxoSmithKline from their findings but no action was taken by the company.

According to New Zealnd Commerce Commission Chair Paula Rebstock health claims are big business in today's market. It is very disappointing to see a major pharmaceutical and health products company like GlaxoSmithKline mislead the public in this way. Ms Rebstock calls this to be a massive breach of trust with the New Zealand public as the company specifically promoted the vitamin C-related health benefits of Ribena for children, teenagers, and pregnant women.

Monitoring of raw ware and natural products must cover all charges to insure correctness of claims on the packaging and in TV commercials and printed advertising.

Healthy Food Code of Practice

The UK Healthy Food Code of Practice includes a labelling regulation for food manufacturers, restaurants and other food outlets aiming to reduce consumption of saturated fat, sugar and salt.

OFCOM is also called review of restrictions on broadcast advertisement of food adverts aimed at children, which were introduced in stages last year.

Finally, local authorities are to be given planning powers to limit the number of fast food outlets in particular areas, such as in the vicinity of schools and parks.

Beyond promoting healthier food choices, the strategy has four other prongs to it and takes an integrated approach to tackling the obesity problem in the UK by reaching out to society at large.

These are: The Food Law Code of Practice and associated Practice Guidance for England is available:
Code of Practice
Practice Guide
Summary of the  
main changes

Brand Community

[133] Albert M. Muniz, Jr. and Thomas C. O'Guinn introduced the idea of brand community. According to the authors a brand community is a specialized, non-geographically bound community, based on a structured set of social relations among admirers of a brand. Brand community may also be used to describe a connected group of admirers of a brand. Muniz and colleague explore the characteristics, processes, and particularities of brand communities , such as centred on Fd Bronco, Macintosh, and Saab.

The authors found that these brand communities exhibit three traditional markers of community: The commercial and mass-mediated ethos in which these communities are situated affects their character and structure and gives rise to their particularities. This article highlights implications for branding, sociological theories of community, and consumer behaviour.

As branded goods replaced unmarked commodities, where mass advertising replaced personal selling, and where the individual consumer replaced the communal citizen, the brand should have a central and prominent place in the discourse of modernity, community, and society.

Consumption communities

Consumption communities are groups of community members placing special emphasis on some type of consumption (e.g., food, drink, gifts) as part of a celebration, ritual, tradition is the subject of considerable scholarship, as well as common lived experience.

Brand Communities

According to the authors brand communities do not typically reject aspects of the surrounding culture's ideology. They embrace them. The authors argue that brand communities are in fact legitimate forms of community, but communities of a particular stripe, and of their time. These communities may form around any brand, but are probably most likely to form around brands with a strong image, a rich and lengthy history, and threatening competition.

The communities that form around brands need not be marginal, stand in opposition to mainstream culture.

Community became a common understanding of a shared identity, and the consumer demands to be taken seriously are driving the creation of brands and influencing how the brand is marketed.

Brand communities have changed the basic marketing paradigm in that it has forced marketers to realize the enormous importance of consumer-to-consumer communication in a wired world, where groups of consumers may speak not with the voice of one, but with the power of thousands. Wired groups of consumers behave similarly to traditional communities and present significant challenges and opptunities for marketers.

The authors conclude that they believe brand communities to be real, significant, and generally a good thing, a democratic thing, and evidence of the persistence of community in consumer culture.

More effort necessary to promulgate the consumption of whole grain , but not refined grain, to significantly decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Whole grain food sources have been associated with lowered risk of cardiovascular disease Studies. In a study by Mellen and colleagues (2007) the available observational evidence on whole grain intake and clinical cardiovascular events were quantitated.

They found that greater whole grain intake of an average of 2.5 servings/d versus 0.2 servings/d was associated with a 21% lower risk of heart disease, stroke, fatal CVD events. Conversely, refined grain intake was not associated with incident CVD events, because refininging procedures removes many biologically active agents from the grain, including fibre, vitamins, minerals, lignans, phytosterols and other plant compounds. Which influence cardiovascular risk through effects on glucose homeostasis, lipids and lipoproteins, endothelial function, and other mechanisms.

The authors conclude that there is a consistent, inverse association between dietary whole grains and incident cardiovascular. They call for more efforts to promulgate the beneficial effects of whole grains into public health

The aspartame controversy

Splenda an example of self-destroying marketing

Sucrose known as sugar has been replaced in American European industrial food production by other sweeteners such as fructose syrups combinations of functional ingredients and high intensity sweeteners. This is due to the subsidization of corn in the United States, which has led to a vast surplus and driven the price of corn syrup far below that of sugar. [135]

Sucralose, E955 is sold under the Splenda brand since 1991. The EU approved it in 2004. It is up to 1000 times as sweet as sugar and is stable when heated, and therefe can be used in backing.

It is manufactured by the selective chlorination of sucrose, in which three of the hydroxyl groups are replaced with chlorine to produce trichlorosucrose C12H19Cl3O8. Sucralose is mixed with the corn bulking agents maltodextrin and dextrose. Sucralose is used as a replacement in combination with other artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, acesulfame potassium high-fructose corn syrup. [135]


Sucralose has been accepted by several national and international food safety regulaty bodies, including the , Joint Food and Agriculture organization/World Health organization Expert Committee on Food Additives, The European Union's Scientific Committee on Food, Health Protection Branch of Health and Welfare Canada and Food Standards Australia-New Zealand (FSANZ).

The acceptable daily intake for sucralose is 9 mg/kg of body weight per day. [136] Acceptable daily intake (mg/kg body weight/day) Aspartame 40 Acesulfame K 15 Cyclamate 11 Saccharin 15 Sucralose 15 Canada has a more conservative ADI of 9 mg/kg body weight/day Ref.: 1996 FAO/WHO Joint Expert Committee Food [136]

Sucrose (table sugar, saccharose)

It consists of two monosaccharides, alfa-glucose and fructose, joined by a glycosidic bond between carbon atom 1 of the glucose unit and carbon atom 2 of the fructose unit. What is notable about sucrose is that unlike most polysaccharides, the glycosidic bond is formed between the reducing ends of both glucose and fructose, and not between the reducing end of one and the nonreducing end of the other. Sucrose is covalently bonded due to the non ionic attraction of the carbon and oxygen atoms. The effect of this inhibits further bonding to other saccharide units. Since it contains no free anomeric carbon atom, it is classified as a nonreducing sugar. Sucrose does not contain chlorine. [137]

Tough marketing from Splenda and its outcome

The acceptance of sucralose by almost all food safety regulaty bodies is a high scientific support on safety of sucralose. This advantage is being put at risk by McNeil, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson which produces and markets Blenda. It is inconceivable that McNeil opens the door to a public discussion concerning misleading advertising of their product which highlights the organochloride chemical constitution and its deep chemical modification of sugar. With a vague slogan McNeil fought at no man's land.

Following the premisses of commercial marketing the last inches of the boundaries of legality were used by Splenda:
Splenda was marketed as "No calorie sweetener,"
"Has no calories (Less than 5) and no carbohydrates (less than 1 gram) per serving." [138]
"Contains 96 calories per cup-sugar contains 770 calories per cup!" [138]

Splenda actually contains two calories per teaspoon. Such labelling is legal in the U.S. ' regulations permit a product to be labelled as "zero calories" if the "food contains less than 5 calories per reference amount customarily consumed and per labeled serving." [139]

Splenda contains a relatively small amount of sucralose because it is extremely sweet and little of that is metabolized anyway since sucralose is an organochloride. Virtually all of Splenda's caloric content derives from the highly fluffed dextrose and/ maltodextrin bulking agent, that gives Splenda its volume. Like other carbohydrates, dextrose and maltodextrin have approximately 4.5 calories per gram. [135]

Court decision against Splenda

Merisant, the makers of Equal, sued Splenda in France and in the United States over Splenda's slogan, "made from sugar so it tastes like sugar," The Sugar Association, trying to pep up the image of sugar say is misleading. [140]

In May 2007 a French court decided the marketing adds to be illegal misleading and ordered Merisat to withdraw their adds. In United States Merisat reached an undisclosed settlement with Equal to avoid a defeat at US court.

The disaster of aggressive marketing

The outcome of this marketing strategy is feeding new discussions that chronic consumption may lead to thymus shrinkage other side-effects [141]. Sucralose is an organochloride also known as chlorocarbon. Although many chlorocarbons are toxic, sucralose is not known to be toxic in small quantities and is extremely insoluble in fat, so it can not accumulate in fat like most chlorinated hydrocarbons, but the bad image of this chemical group persists. [142]

The consumer advocacy group Citizens for Health has filed a petition asking the approval of Splenda to be withdrawn until additional investigation of claimed side effects such as stomach pain and other digestion problems are cleared. [143]

Food and Diet maintains a webside with a list of symptoms of troubles from using Splenda [144]

The U.S. Sugar Association has also started a web site where they put forward their criticism of sucralose. [140]

The world's largest retailer of natural and organic foods Whole Food Markets, included sucralose in its list of unacceptable food ingredients. [145]

According to Food and Diet's website, numerous claims have been filed about possible side effect complaints by users of sucralose-containing products including drug-like feelings of disorientation and confusion, headaches, depression, anxiety, diarrhea, extreme fatigue, and more. [144]

Safety of sucralose in bakery is being questioned

Sucralose is a polychlorinated synthetic high-intensity sweetener, sold under the commercial name Splenda, is being increasingly used in baked products, where high temperatures are applied. Splenda contains 1.1% of the artificial sweetener sucralose and the fillers maltodextrin and glucose. The US FDA Acceptable Daily Intake for sucralose is 5 mg/kg. Rahn and Yaylayan 2009 write that sucralose may degrade during baking of food products releasing hydrogen chloride which may chlorinate glycerol of fats and produce toxic chloropropanols.

The authors report that thermal degradation of sucralose takes place at 250 °. Together with glycerol and fats significant amounts of 3-monochloropropanediol and 1,2- and 1,3-dichloropropanols are formed.

According to a 2009 report from the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), high levels of 3-MCPD esters are being found in refined edible fats, such as margarine and oils, and in fat-containing foods including infant formula and human milk. The major chloropropanol is 3-chloro-1,2-propanediol (3-MCPD), and is also formed when fat- and salt-containing foods are processed at high temperatures during production. [147]

The authors recommend producers to develop strategies for minimising the amount of these compounds in fats and oils by optimising the processing, removing 3-MCPD esters from the product, or by avoiding relevant reactants in the raw material.

Splenda alters gut microflora and biovailiabiltiy of drugs

Abou-Donia and colleagues 2008 report that Splenda dosages containing sucralose at 1.1-11 mg/kg, in the diet of rats, increased body weight, reduced the beneficial fecal microflora, increased fecal pH, and enhanced expression levels of P-gp, CYP3A4, and CYP2D1, which are known to limit the bioavailability of orally administered drugs.

Sucralose safety supporters

The safety of sucralose was supported in an article of Grotz and Munro 2009 [149], and in an expert panel report on a study of Splenda in male rats by Brusick and colleagues 2009. The article of Brusick stresses that extensive safety data of sucralose and maltodextrin demonstrates that Splenda, sucralose, and maltodextrin are safe for their intended uses. The authors state further, that the conclusions of the study of Abou-Donia and colleagues 2008 are not consistent with published literature and not supported by the data presented [150].

The 2005 Ramazzini publication: Aspartame linked to increased risk of leukaemia, lymphomas and breast cancer

In 2005 Mango Soffritti and colleagues at the Ramazzini Foundation found aspartame to increase lymphomas and leukaemias in females.

The authors write in their publication of 2005: "The results of this mega-experiment indicate that Aspartame is a multipotential carcinogenic agent, even at a daily dose of 20 mg/kg body weight, much less than the current acceptable daily intake. On the basis of these results, a reevaluation of the present guidelines on the use and consumption of APM is urgent and cannot be delayed."

The 2007 Ramazzini publication: Foetal life and children at increased cancer risc due to Aspartame

In their second long-term carcinogenicity bioassay on APM the authors conclude that when lifespan exposure to Aspartame begins during foetal life, its carcinogenic effects are increased.

On the basis of the present findings, the authors believe that a review of the current regulations governing the use of aspartame cannot be delayed. This review is particularly urgent with regard to aspartame-containing beverages, heavily consumed by children. The authors stress that other studies were made on aged people and did not consider pregnancy and infants.

What consumer can do: Avoid Diet Pepsi, Diet Cola, yoghurt light soft drinks light, diet yoghurt

This has led some consumer groups, particularly in the US, to call for a review of the safety data on aspartame and for consumers to avoid products that contain the ingredient. Aspartame is used in carbonated and powdered soft drinks, hot chocolate, chewing gum, candy, desserts, yogurt, tabletop sweeteners, and vitamins.

As a result of the new study, for the first time CSPI downgraded aspartame on its online Chemical Cuisine directy from a "use caution" rating to "everyone should avoid." CSPI also urges everyone to avoid the artificial sweeteners acesulfame potassium and saccharin. It rates sucralose, also known by the brand name Splenda, as safe.

On The Early Show 24.April 2007, medical contribut Dr. Mallika Marshall said: "... I think we should probably be a little less cavalier about giving our children tons of foods with artificial sweeteners and probably should go back to the basics of milk and water and fruits and vegetables instead of diet soda and reduced calorie foods." OurFood strongly supports this statement. [154]

Official food regulators: USA and European EFSA find no reason to reconsider the approval of Aspartame

The Acceptable Daily Intake of aspartame in the United States is 50 mg per kg of body weight. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that it finds no reason to alter its previous conclusion that aspartame is safe as a general purpose sweetener in food.

The alleges that the conclusions of the two Ramazzini studies are not consistent with other studies evaluated by .
According to Aspartame was first approved in the United States in 1981 and is one of the most widely used artificial sweeteners. When metabolised by the body, aspartame is broken down into two common amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, and a third substance, methanol. These three substances are available in similar greater amounts from eating common foods.

European Union EFSA

the first Ramazzini study in May 2006 the EFSA responded to the 2005 Ramazzini reptort stating that there was no need for a further safety review of aspartame nor a revision of the acceptable daily intake of 40 mg/kg body weight. [156]

CSPI calls for urgent review of the study.

In the US, consumer group the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) called on the to urgently review the study, regarding the fact that aspartame-containing beverages are heavily consumed by children.

No risk of cancer linked to saccharin, aspartame and other sweeteners: The Milan case-control study 2007

The epidemiological study in Milan, Italy concluded that there was no indication of an association between sweetener consumption and cancer risk . A Gallu and colleagues 2006 found no association between saccharin, aspartame and other sweeteners and the risk of several common neoplasms.

The NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study on aspartame

[158] [159]
Unhee Lim and colleagues 2006 of the National Cancer Institute in a study on people found no increased cancer risk in a group aged 50 to 71, consuming 2 cans of soda per day ( 400 mg aspartame/day). [158]

Aspartame consumption

[159] In the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, aspartame consumption ranged from 0 to 3400 mg per day about 19 cans of soda at the high end. There are 180 mg of aspartame in a 12 ounce can of diet soda.

The Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of aspartame is 50 mg per kilogram of body weight about 3,750 mg (21 cans of diet soda) for an adult weighing 75 kilograms (165 lb).

The average aspartame consumption among diet beverage consumers in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study was 200 mg per day, about 7 percent of the ADI.

An animal study that fed aspartame to rats saw lymphoma/leukemia increase in female rats, starting from 20 mg per kilogram of body weight (a person weighing 75 kilograms 165 lbs, consuming 1500 mg aspartame, about 8 cans of diet soda.

The European Food Safety Authority says Aspartame is safe

On 19 February 2009, the Ramazzini Institute submitted to EFSA some of the requested data by the Pannel to assess the ERF carcinogenicity study with prenatal exposure on aspartame as reported by Soffritti et al.

The final conclusion was that data were not sufficient for the evaluation of malignant tumour incidences which must consider all tumours. These data were not provided by the authors. Lymphomas and leukemias observed appeared to chronic respiratory diseases and not related to an effect of aspartame.

The increase in incidence of mammary carcinoma is not considered indicative of a carcinogenic potential of aspartame since the incidence of mammary tumours in female rats is rather high and varies considerably between carcinogenicity studies.

The Panel concluded that aspartame is not genotoxic or carcinogenic and the established ADI for aspartame of 40 mg/kg bw/day may remain unchanged.

Aspartame High Court judgement at London backs artificial ingredients ban

A High Court judgement has found in favour of Asda supermarket chain approving the labelling of the "Good For You" product rage claiming "no hidden nasties", "no artificial colours or flavours, no aspartame, and no hydrogenated vegetable oils". Ajinomoto had launched a malicious falsehood action against Asda supermarket in 2008.

Ajinomoto searched for a ruling on what the statements by Asda mean in law, alleging that the "natural and ordinary" meaning of the words is that aspartame is "an especially harmful or unhealthy, or potentially harmful or unhealthy, sweetener and is one which consumers concerned for their own health and that of their families would do well to avoid."

Ajinomoto tried to defend the reputation of aspartame, and products that are sweetened with aspartame "maliciously" classified as "nasty".

The High Court did not call into question the safety of aspartame, which is being considered as safe by the the European Food Safety Authority. The High Court interpreted the Asda claim as "if you the consumer think that aspartame may be bad for you, or unpleasant to taste or consume, then this product is for you".

The adjective "nasty" could mean anything from "unpleasant" to "dangerous" and coupling the word "Good for you" and "nasty" was inviting approval of products which did not contain aspartame and disapproval of those that did.

Two meanings to the term "nasties" were analysed. The "natural and ordinary" meaning would be understood as meaning that it was potentially harmful or unhealthy.

The Court's own meaning of the terms, however was that "no reasonable reader could understand the words as a statement by Asda that all artificial colours and flavours are especially or actually harmful or unhealthy."

This judgement backs claims which highlight the exclusion of artificial supplement unwanted by the consumer following subjective arguments.

In face of the aspartame judgement, Asda renewed its call for other manufacturers and retailers to remove unnecessary, artificial additives from food and soft drink products.

Artificial sweeteners, train the gustatory senses to look after sweet products. Craving sets in and overeating follows. Adjusting to the natural sweetness of raw foods themselves it is possible to avoid artificial ingredients such as colours, flavour enhancers and sweeteners which have food value and trick the body thinking it is eating something delicious.

Asda already removed the six artificial colours shown by the Southampton Study to increase hyperactivity in children. Other highlights of consumer friendly actions of Arla were:
It removed all artificial colours and flavours. It was first to hit FSA salt reduction targets. It was first to remove monosodium glutamate, hydrogenated fat and aspartame (90 tonnes) from its own label products.

The originat tradename is Nutrasweet and it appears on ingredient lists as "aspartame" or "E951".

New aspartame study by the UK Food Standards Agency FSA

The Food Standards Agency announces at its website that it is to begin a new study looking at aspartame. The research will focus on people who have reported bad reactions to the artificial sweetener and will be published in 2011.

Labelling of "carbon footprints" in UK

UK food sector is the world leader in food health and environment movement, an example to be looked upon by other governments of the EU and the rest of the world.

The UK government launched the OFCOM media advertising ban for unhealthy foods targeted to children. Another great job was the introduction of the "traffic light" labelling marking with green, amber and red colours the important constituents of foods.

Another path-breaking action of the UK government is to launch the "carbon footprint"label. This will be a real step forward reducing carbon emission.

The voluntary labelling scheme will help companies to measure the greenhouse gases associated with their their products and reduce them. Labelling will give the consumer the possibility to choose between environment friendly and those who do not carry such label because they have a high land, sea and air transport not effective processing system, as well as waste from packaging and discarded products." [164]

Carbon footprint is a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide CO2 emitted through the combustion of fossil fuels; in the case of an organization, business enterprise, as part of their everyday operations; in the case of an individual household, as part of their daily lives; a product commodity in reaching market. In materials, is essentially a measure of embodied energy, the result of life cycle analysis. [165]

According to the UK environment minister Ian Pearson products will display labels showing the greenhouse gas emissions created by their production, transport and eventual disposal, similar to the calorie salt content figures on food packaging. [164]

The pilot scheme from the Carbon Trust is being tested by several retailers. It calculates the carbon footprint for one item that can be purchased by the consumer, including both the product and the packaging and transport.

The Carbon Trust and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are linked with the BSI British Standards in the development of the standard. According to Defra the benchmark method will be the start of an internationally agreed standard for measuring embodied greenhouse gas emissions. [163]

Just call to your attention the transport of yoghurt from the south of Europe to the north labelled as "organic" produce, bottled water being transported throughout Europe. A fair labelling of the carbon footprint will help you to choose foods which are good to you and the environment.

This is a great job of the UK government and a great award for the retailers which enforce these activities on their suppliers toward healthy foods and friendly to the environment.

EU Nutrition and health claims made on foods - Regulation 1924/2006

Nutrition and health claims must meet the rules and wording of the regulation 1924/2006. This Regulation lays down harmonised rules for the use of health or nutritional claims (such as "low fat", "high fibre and "helps lower cholesterol") on foodstuffs based on nutrient profiles. Only products offering genuine health or nutritional benefits will be allowed to refer to them on their labels.

The regulation comprises: "nutrition claim" means any claim which states, suggests or implies that a food has particular beneficia nutritional properties due to the energy (calorific value) or nutrients or other substances. "health claim" means any claim that states, suggests or implies that a relationship exists between a food category, a food or one of its constituents and health. "reduction of disease risk claim" means any health claim that states, suggests or implies that the consumption of a food category, a food or one of its constituents significantly reduces a risk factor in the development of a human disease.

The Annex of the Nutrition claims and conditions applying to them presents a positive list of claims which may be used by everyone.

According to article 18 a food business operator intending to use a health claim not included in the positive list of the Annex may apply for the inclusion of the claim in that list.
Claims involving newly developed data can now be handed to the Commission. Approval my follow an accelerated procedure and exclusive use of their proprietary data for five years is established. Article 13(5) allows data protection. A request of the same claim by another company must be founded on new data of their own. The regulation 1924/2006 establishes a procedure for new claims to be made, the general principles for all claims, determining principles for commercial communications, such as labelling and advertising, including all commercial messages promoting food and food supplement products.

Scientific substantiation of claims and pre-market approval of all claims used, through a review by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are necessary. The regulation describes in article 13 and 14 two groups of claims.

Article 13 describes health claims other than those cited in article 14. The article 13 refers to claims of the role of a nutrient or other substance in growth, development and the functions of the body; or psychological and behavioural functions; or without prejudice to Directive 96/8/EC,[167] slimming or weight-control or a reduction in the sense of hunger or an increase in the sense of satiety or to the reduction of the available energy from the diet. Claims must be based on generally accepted scientific evidence; and well understood by the average consumer.

Article 14 refers to reduction of disease risk claims and claims referring to children's development and health.

Guidance on the implementation of the Regulation EC 1924/2006

The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health 2007 issued a document aims to improve the understanding and correct use of the (EC) 1924/2006 Regulation. The Committee, however, stresses that the document has no formal legal status and in case of disputes ultimate responsibility for the interpretation of the law lies with the Court of Justice.

Energy-restricted diets for weight reduction

Foods for use in energy-restricted diets for weight reduction are specially formulated foods which, when used as instructed by the manufacturer, replace the whole or part of the total daily diet. They are divided in two categories:
(a) products presented as a replacement for the whole of the daily diet. They must be labelled as "Total diet replacement for weight control";
(b) products presented as a replacement for one or more meals of the daily diet, to be labelled as "Meal replacement for weight control".
Directive 96/8 is a "specific Directive" which lays down compositional and labelling requirements for these foods. The regulation specifies the essential composition of foods for energy restricted diets.

Interaction with Community provisions laid down in Directive 89/398/EEC and Directives adopted relating to foodstuffs for particular nutritional uses (PARNUTS)

The Guidance also describes the interaction of EC 1924/2006 with Community provisions laid down in Directive 89/398/EEC [169] and Directives adopted relating to foodstuffs for particular nutritional uses.

Directive 89/398/EEC includes a general provision that the labelling of foods for particular nutritional uses should describe the particular nutritional characteristics of the products. In addition, the specific Directive2006/141/EC [170]on infant formulae and follow-on formulae and amending Directive 1999/21/EC provide specific rules for nutrition and health claims made on infant formulae.

The only permitted claims for infant formulae are listed in Annex IV of Directive 2006/141/EC and should be made in accordance with the conditions set out therein. In accordance with the third subparagraph of Article 4(1) of Directive 89/398/EEC, modification of that list of nutrition and health claims shall be adopted by Comitology, when necessary, after consultation of the European Food Safety authority (EFSA).

As no similar provision is laid down for follow-on formulae, nutrition and health claims made on such products are governed by Regulation (EC) 1924/2006 [166]. The other foodstuffs governed by PARNUTS Directives adopted on the basis of Directive 89/398/EEC, notably processed cereal-based foods and baby foods for infants and young children (Commission Directive 2006/125/EC) [171], may bear claims authorised on the basis of Regulation 1924/2006, as these Directives do not include specific provisions on the use of nutrition and health claims.

Omega-3 Eggs claims deceive consumer

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) urged the to stop seven egg producers from implying that their eggs can reduce the risk of heart disease. In fact, says CSPI, egg producers should not be making heart-healthy claims, because the specifically prohibits such claims on eggs and other foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat.

Egg producers take advantage of consumers' limited knowledge of the different types of omega-3s. While the permits claims for a possible reduced risk of heart disease linked to two kinds of omega-3s, DHA and EPA, the agency does not allow such claims for other omega-3s. CSPI commissioned a lab test that found that less than half of the advertised 350 mg of omega-3s in a Land O Lakes egg came from EPA and DHA.

"The most beneficial omega-3 fatty acids come from fish, fish oil, and algae," said CSPI senior staff attorney Ilene Heller. "Even if eggs had the right kind of omega-3s, they still contain significant levels of saturated fat and cholesterol, which increase the risk of heart disease."
Products named in the CSPI complaint include: -

Land O Lakes

claims that "omega-3 All-Natural Eggs" are a "good source of heart-healthy nutrition" despite the fact that has not defined the term "good source" for omega-3s and that the eggs contain too much saturated fat and cholesterol to meet 's definition of healthy. -

Eggland's Best

uses unapproved nutrient content claims for omega-3s on its carton and on its Web site. In addition, the company claims that its eggs have 25 percent less saturated fat than regular eggs. But that difference is less than half a gram - an amount that the considers trivial for purposes of nutrition labeling. -

Safeway Specialty 3 Eggs

misleadingly boasts "100 mg of omega-3s" even though the has not set standards for such omega-3 claims. In addition, the principal source of omega-3s in the hens' diets is likely not a source that may be associated with heart benefits. -

Gold Circle Farms

claims that its eggs contain "450 mg of omega-3s." The claims are based on two eggs even though the official serving size for eggs is one egg. -

The Country Hen

illegally claims "the difference is an egg that is simply healthy" even though the product does not meet regulaty requirements for "healthy," and also makes its claims based on two eggs. -

Full Spectrum Farms

boasts that its product has "30 mg" of unspecified omega-3s even though one dinary egg, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, contains 37 mg of omega-3s, 20 mg of which are DHA and EPA. -

Giving Nature

asserts that the company feeds its hens flax seed which "has been known to hold high levels of DHA omega-3." But, according to the Flax Council of Canada and others, the omega-3s that considers healthful (DHA and EPA) are not found in plants such as flax seed. CSPI unveils tricky labelling concerning omega-3 fatty acid in foods [173]
DHA and EPA, the omega-3s found in salmon, trout, other fish, and algae, are linked to a lower risk of heart disease. Another omega-3, ALA, found in flaxseed and to a lesser extent, canola and soy, may not have the same benefits. But that doesn't stop companies from loading products with ALA and bragging about their omega-3 content.

Accoding to David Schardt, a nutricionist from CSPI, many foods with omega-3 claims have only mostly ALA from flax seed, which may not prevent anything. He recommends to get DHA and EPA from salmon, fish oil and algal oil capsules.

CSPI found tricky labelling on omega-3 fatty acids misleading consumer in foods like:


with very low content of DHA claiming "Boost your brain". This is a vague claim which needs no evidence.

Soymilk Plus Omega-3 DHA

High content of omega-3 are mainly based on ALA omega-3s which , according to CSPI, everyone gets enough of, thanks to soy and canola oil.


Advertising omega-3, but not specifying whether it's ALA, DHA EPA, and lists fish, fish oil algal oil on the ingredient label is misleading. Claims on Omega-3 of products containing flax, soybean oil canola oil, flax should be assumed to refers to ALA which do not have the same benefits expected by the consumer.

Omega-3 enriched chocolate

Some chocolates contain roasted flax seeds, which contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an n3 fatty acid. Studies have found evidence that ALA is related to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. However, the mechanism is still unclear: The body converts ALA into the longer chain fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5, n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6, n-3), and it is unknown whether the protective effect against cardiac arrhythmia is exerted by ALA itself, or by these metabolic products. EPA and DHA fatty acids are readily available from fish.

To avoid oxidising of the fatty acids micro-encapsulation is used to avoid compromising odour and taste.

Consumer looking to improve their omega-3 intake should look at the declaration of EPA and DHA and discard ALA.

Omega-3 Eggs

Omega-3 eggs were found to have more than half of the claimed omega-3s as ALA.


Schardt recommends eating fatty fish like salmon twice a week to average 500 to 1,000 mg a day of DHA plus EPA. (The American Heart Association recommends 1,000 mg a day of DHA plus EPA omega-3s f people with heart disease.) Get the whole story at http://www.cspinet.g/new/200710011.html and A very good summary of researche on omega-3 and food labelling is available at the article "Omega Medicine? Is fish oil good for what ails you?" http://www.cspinet.g/new/pdf/omegas.pdf [174]

ALA from flax, soy and canola may reduce risk of miocardial infarction

According to Campos, Baylin and Willet 2008 the consumption of a diet containing vegetable oils rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is associated with significant reductions in the risk of nonfatal myocardial infarction Investigators say the protective effect of ALA is evident among individuals with low intakes, suggesting the greatest benefit might be in developing countries, where fatty-acid consumption is limited. Best benefits were noted by approximately 0.65% energy (1.8 g/day) which can be achieved with small amounts, just half a teaspoon, of flaxseed oil, or one to two teaspoons of soybean oil.

The authors stress that in countries with diets poor in fish, cooking with corn or sunflower oil have almost no sources of omega-3 fatty acids. The consumption of vegetable oils with ALA could have a major impact on heart disease.

In an editorial William Harris says that these findings are important for people which cannot eat fish. The supply of ALA is limited by reduced fish population. However, these findings are not consistent with studies which found no significant risk of coronary heart disease risk effect of linoleic acid. The author refers to the ongoing Alpha-Omega Study in which the cardio protective effect of 400 mg of EPA plus DHA are compared with 2 g of linolenic acid. [176]

Flaxseed found to have beneficial effects on blood lipids

[177] Pan and colleagues 2009 performed a meta-analysis using studies of flaxseed, flaxseed oil and lignan on lipid profiles in adults from 1990 to 2008. The authors found that flaxseed significantly reduced circulating total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations, depending on the type of intervention, sex, and initial lipid profiles of the subjects.

Whole flaxseed reduced total Cholesterol by 0.21 mmol/L and LDL cholesterol by 0.16 mmol/L.
Lignan supplements reduced total Cholesterol by 0.28 mmol/L and LDL cholesterol by 0.16 mmol/L.
Flaxseed oil did not present beneficial effects.

Pan and colleagues point out that flaxseed consumption may be a useful dietary approach for the prevention of hypercholesterolemia, especially in some patient subgroups. The authors call for more studies on the effect of flaxseed supplementation on cardiometabolic risk factors other than blood lipids and, ultimately, on cardiovascular disease-related morbidity and mortality.

Linoleic acid from safflower oil found to reduce blood pressure

[178] Dr Katsuyuki Miura and colleagues 2008 reports an independent inverse correlation between dietary linoleic acid and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The authors found that high linoleic acid consumption of 9 g/day were related to systolic and diastolic blood pressure reduction of approximately 1.4 mm Hg and 0.9 mm Hg, respectively.

Omega Eggs

Egg producers make claims on high Omega-3 contents. permits claims for a possible reduced risk of heart disease linked to only two kinds of omega-3s, DHA and EPA, the agency does not allow such claims for other omega-3s.

According to CSPI the most beneficial omega-3 fatty acids come from fish, fish oil, and algae. The CSPI dampens the euphia related to omega eggs and stresses that even if eggs had the "right" kind of omega-3s (the DAH), they still contain significant levels of saturated fat and cholesterol, which increase the risk of heart disease. [179]

Omega 9

Omega-9 are not essential in humans, because humans possess all the enzymes required for their synthesis. They are unnecessary in supplement blends like Omega-3-6-9.
The omega-9 fatty acids are:
Oleic acid (C18:1) cis-9-octadecenoic acid
Eicosenoic acid (C20:19 cis -11-eicosenoic acid
Mead acid (C20:3) all-cis-5,8,11-eicosatrienoic acid
Erucic acid (C22:1) cis-13-docosenoic acid
Nervonic acid (C24:1) cis-15-tetracosenoic acid

The minimum intake of EPA and DHA

An intake of about 500 mg of EPA+DHA per day is expected to significantly reduce risk of death from CHD in healthy adults.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that healthy adults consume at least 2 servings of fish weekly, particularly those that contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. The AHA further recommends that individuals with known CVD consume approximately 1 g/day of EPA and DHA and that individuals with elevated TG levels may benefit from 2 to 4 g of EPA and DHA daily, since this dose usually results in TG reduction(AHA, Kris-Etherton 2003) Note, however, that the does not recommend a dose over 3 g/day of EPA and DHA from food and dietary supplements. [182]

The Omega-3-DHA Egg

Image Egg

The Omega-3-DHA Egg has 150 mg DHA/100g in an egg of 62g. You have to eat 5 eggs/day to achieve 500 mg DHA to follow the AHA recommendation for healthy individuals. You would intake 18g of saturated fatty acids where a maximum of 4g are allowed.

The maximum Intake

It should not exceed 3 g/day/person. According to which raised concerns about the consumption of high levels of EPA and DHA, which may increase bleeding time, increase levels low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and have an effect on glycemic control in non-insulin dependent diabetics.

AHA scientific statement on Fish Consumption, Fish Oil, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Cardiovascular Disease

The American Heart Association estimate the intake of total omega-3 fatty acids in the US The intake is 1.6 g/d (0.7% of energy intake). Of this, alfa-linolenic acid, coming from canola and soybean oil, flaxseed, accounts for 1.4 g/d, and only 0.1 to 0.2 g/d comes from EPA and DHA. The extent of conversion of alfa-linolenic acid is modest and controversial, varying from 15% to 0,2%. Fish are the major food source of EPA and DHA.

The claim that EPA and DHA helps to promote thinking capacity is unfounded

The European Food Safety Agency EFSA published an opinion on the scientific substantiation of a health claim related to: I omega kids/Pufan 3 kids and thinking capacity.

Thinking capacity

According to the EFSA the evidence presented to support the claim that "EPA and DHA help to promote the thinking capacity of the child" in children aged one year to 12 years and older is based on seven intervention studies. The Panel found the claimed effect too vague and questions the validity of the proposed markers.

The Panel concluded that a cause and effect relationship has not been established between the consumption of EPA and DHA and the promotion of thinking capacity in children aged one year to 12 years and older.

The fatty acids

Fatty acids are straight chain hydrocarbons possessing an acid group (COOH) at one end and a methyl group (CH3) at the other end.

The position of unsaturated bond are given by chemists counting from the acid group. Physiologists start counting from the last, the omega carbon.

Alfa carbon

It is the first carbon after to acid group.

Omega carbon

It is the last carbon seen from the acid group. The physiological properties of unsaturate fatty acids are related mainly to the position of the first unsaturation relative to the end position. which is described as "omega minus n". Omega-3 signifies that the first double bond exists as the third carbon-carbon bond from the terminal CH3 end (omega) of the carbon chain.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids which have a double bond in the omega-3 position. Of these fatty acid EPA and DHA are important and are permitted to be used for claims. ALA despite being an essential fatty acid, is poly converted to EPA and DHA and should therefore be excluded from claims on heart diseases.


Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)

(C18:3) octadeca-9,12,15-trienoic acid) is an omega-3 fatty acid.
Studies found evidence that ALA is related to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease which might be related to a modest conversion to EPA and to DHA. The grants no claims on heart diseases to ALA.

Stearidonic acid

(C18:4) octadeca-6,9,12,15-tetraenoic acid) is also called moctic acid. It is biosynthesized from ALA. Sources are hemp seed, blackcurrant seed oil and spirulina.


Eicosapentaenoic acid

(EPA) (C20:5) eicosa-5,8,11,14,17-pentaenoic acid) is also named icosapentaenoic acid. It is an important omega 3 fatty acid involved in heart health. Claims on heart health are allowed by.

DPA Docosapentaenoic acid

Clupanodonic acid (DPA)

(C22:5) all-cis-7,10,13,16,19-docosapentaenoic acid commonly called DPA. Seal oil is a good source of DPA. According to Dr. Dyerberg,DPA is an intermediate in the conversion of EPA to DHA, therefore it will be present in the body all the time. Specific effects of DPA are not known.


Docosahexaenoic acid ( DHA)

(C22:6), It is an important omega 3 fatty acid involved in heart health. Claims on heart health are allowed by .

Omega-6 fatty acids

Omega-6 fatty acids have the first double bond occurs at the sixth carbon from the end of the fatty acid. Their biological effects interacts with the omega-3 fatty acids.

Most seeds and seed oils are much richer in the omega-6 fat linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is also an essential fat, but together with the other omega-6 fats it competes with omega-3s for positions in membranes and have very different effects on human health. Some studies link them to a number of diseases and depression if their ratio to omega-3 is high. Western diets have ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 in excess of 10 to 1, some as high as 30 to 1, meanwhile the optimal ratio is thought to be 4 to 1 lower.

Omega-6 deficiency symptoms include dry hair, hair loss, However, it is easy to get enough omega-6 fatty acids from canola and soy oil. [186]

Linoleic acid

(C18:2) 9,12-octadecadienoic acid is found in vegetable oils such as safflower and sunflower oils. In the body LA must be converted to gama-linolenic acid.

Gamma-Linolenic acid

(GLA) (C18:3) 6,9,12-octadecatrienoic acid is found primarily in vegetable oils and dietary supplement for treating inflammations, and in auto-immune diseases, but its medicinal properties are doubted. It is an isomer of ALA.

Eicosadienoic acid

(C20:2) 11,14-eicosadienoic acid Their metabolites are associated with anti-inflammaty effects. Eicosanoic are metabolites from Dihomo-gama-Linolenic acid.

Dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid

(DGLA) (C20:3) 8,11,14-eicosatrienoic acid is the elongation of gama-linolenic acid. It has anti-inflammaty effects. Taken ally in a small study, DGLA produced anti-thrombotic effects and increases serum DGLA without increasing serum AA.

Arachidonic acid (AA)

(C20:4) 5,8,11,14-eicosatetraenoic acid is the counterpart to the saturated arachidic acid from peanut oil. It is present in the membranes of the cells and in brain and is a second messenger in cellular signalling. Its source are meat, eggs, dairy and is synthesised from linoleic acid. Some animals, like cats cannot convert fatty acids to AA. They must get it from meat in their nutrition. [187]

Adrenic Acid, Docosatetranoic acid

(C22:4) 7,10,13,16-docosatetraenoic acid is found in the early human brain.

Calendic acid

is being obtained from pot marigold. It is used in ointments to reduce inflammation, as antiseptic and is wound healing.

Mandaty nutrition labelling for fast food chains

Food regulators should should establish legislation requiring fast-food and other chain restaurants to list calories, saturated plus trans fat, carbohydrates, and sodium on printed menus, and just calories on menu boards, where space is limited.

Without clear, easy-to-use nutrition information, it's difficult to make informed choices at chain restaurants. Otherwise how can you know that a tuna fish salad sandwich has 50% more calories than a roast beef sandwich? that a small chocolate milkshake at McDonald's has more calories than a Big Mac?

Although people eat out more than ever before, few restaurants provide nutrition information. As a result, we often are getting more calories, fat, and salt than we realize. This can be particularly problematic for people who watch what they eat to manage health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure.

Restaurant labelling regulations would give the citizens an imptant new tool to help us eat well and maintain a healthy weight. It would provide information that would allow people to take responsibility for their own health and make more informed decisions for a significant and growing part of our diet. And limiting the requirement to chain restaurants would not burden independent restaurants. Nutrition labelling would be a clever move for McDonnald's and other fast food chains to improve its bad image as unhealthy food.

Introducing the Federal Menu-Labeling Bill

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest Americans get a third of their calories from, and spend half of their food dollars on, meals outside the home. At table-service chains like Ruby Tuesday, Macaroni Grill, and Chili's, it is easy to find 1,000-calorie appetizers, 1,000-calorie entrees, and 1,000-calorie desserts. Access to nutrition information at restaurants is more important than ever, particularly given that a number of studies link eating out with higher caloric intake and obesity.

The MEAL act

Menu Education and Labeling (MEAL) Act would require fast-food and other chain restaurants to post calories on menu boards and food display tags and calories, saturated plus trans fat, carbohydrates, and sodium on printed menus. The MEAL act would apply to chains with 20 or more outlets and would exclude small mom-and-pop restaurants and custom orders or temporary menu items at chain restaurants. The MEAL act requires information on calories, sodium, saturated and trans fat, and carbohydrates. Studies show the total number of calories that individuals derive from food outside the home has increased steadily over time.

Best results of New York City labelling policy for restaurants

According to a survey 90 percent of New Yorkers have read the nutrition information on menus in chain restaurants, and a remarkable 82 percent say menu labeling has affected what they order.

The LEAN act

Under the LEAN act nutrition information would not be required to be posted on the menu. Restaurants would have the option to post information through a variety of formats that people rarely see. LEAN also would overturn existing menu labelling policies and prevent other states and localities from passing restaurant labelling policies.

The National Restaurant Association strongly supports the legislation's goal to replace a patchwork of inconsistent state and local ordinances with a national standard for chain restaurants that empowers consumers to make the choices that are best for them and their families.

Mandatory menu nutrition facts labelling at restaurants should be introduced Europe and other countries with obesity problems.

Food crunchyness test

The food physicist profess Malcolm Povey studying the application of ultrasound to the determination of the properties of foods has shown that ultrasound is generated when biting into crunchy food. These sounds are analysed by the ears and mouth. Recordable ultrasound pulses could be used by food manufacturers to determine the crispy/crunchy texture of their products.

Povey says that the sound and feel of food in the mouth is as imptant as taste, look and smell in deciding whether we like something not. The results of his researches show a very high corelation with the results by professional tasters.

He concludes that the machine-measured test is a quick and simple way to check consistency of products once the desired texture of a product has been decided. This can turn out to become an important test in quality checks in the laboraty of food industry.

Rising taxes on alcohol in UK

UK announced a lift of taxes on alcohol. Also this lift is cost factor bounded and not explicitly the health situation, groups promoting responsible health lifestyles welcomed the action as part of a fight against irresponsible drinking.

A discussion paper on the EU strategy on alcohol focused primarily at alcohol and driving and under-age drinking, including binge drinking. [193]

The alcohol industry, especially the highly protected vine industry is taking a lot of measures to avoid any setback on alcohol sells, fearing a similar situation as happened with smoking.

However, the UK chancellor Alistair Darling MP stressed that it was cost factors and not explicitly health that had encouraged him to lift taxes on drink. The UK Wine and Spirit Association condemns government's action calling it an attack on consumers. [194] The WSTA recommends the related Links:

The Drinkaware Trust

It is an independent charity funded by the industry to run education campaigns on responsible alcohol consumption. It can provide information about drinking responsibly and keeping safe.

The Portman Group

The group runs the industry Code of Practice on naming, packaging and marketing alcoholic products.


Alcohol in Moderation is a non profit organisation which promotes the responsible and moderate use of alcohol internationally. AIM maintains a free database of peer reviewed articles on alcohol, health and social aspect issues.

Advertising strategies of food industry and retail services

Advertising in the food industry aims to develop a good image of a brand for its product and promote sales. Brand and its image is created by the producer of the food. The global food industry is marked by fusions of small companies, resulting in gigantic food corporations, such as Nestlé, Cargill, Unilevel and others. These corporations launch a new product using TV spots, advertising in magazines and newspapers. It targets the population of a complete country and sometimes global strategies are used. Advertises are directed to the children at early hours and to adults later.

Other activities are billboard advertising at public places and bus stations. Some examples are advertising of margarine, ketchup, ice cream brands, candies which are dominated by global corporations.

There is also a strong activity to launch functional foods using scientific studies sponsored by interested corporations. One of such functional food campaign is Actimel. Launched in Europe in 1994, Actimel (also known as DanActive in the United States and Canada) is a 'probiotic' yogurt-type drink produced by the Spanish French company Danone. Actimel earned over Euro 1400 million (US$1.8 billion) in retail sales in 2006. [195]

Another marketing and advertising example is the margarine Becel pro active. It uses all media, including neutral articles in Wikipedia, which are very effective.[196]
Nestlé Smarties are a colour-varied sugar-coated chocolate confectionery is another giant advertising success [197]. The industry manages to get Smarties redesign put as BBC News. To do so they send the story to the editor of TV channels. It works as an enormous image boost, with zero budge, just for free. Isn't genial. However, only real great corporations succeed to place such news. Anyhow, Nestlé is one of the biggest advertiser. The TV channels must send such news to please the corporation which brings big advertising contracts. [198]

Supermarket chains make the direct approach of the customer by flyers and handout of price actions and special offers of the week. This material is available at the checkout. These flyers are also included in the newspaper and are regularly distributed to every single house.


The advertising of hospitality is being dominated by Mc Donalds with its burgers. They introduced it worldwide using brainwash methods. [199] [200]

In 2008, the Travel & Hospitality industry (travel, hotel, and resorts) spent $3.89 billion in advertising, a gain of 4% over 2007. The majority of advertising was spent on National Magazines ($808 million), followed by Spot TV ($626 million) and Cable TV ($461 million). [201]

Hotel corporation like the Ibis group coin a global brand using the internet and travel agencies.

Hotels and restaurants with smaller budges must concentrate on their guests of the surroundings. This must concentrate on local newspapers, and most effective, the internet. Almost every restaurant and small hotel has its homepage which is effective to plan a dinner or a small meeting of friends.


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The EFSA Journal (2006) 356, 1-44.: Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in contact with Food (AFC) on a request from the Commission related to a new long-term carcinogenicity study on aspartame Question number EFSA-Q-2005-122 Adopted on 3 May 2006.

Gallu, S.; Scotti L.; Negri, E.R Talamini R.; Franceschi S.; Montella M.; Giacosa, A.; Dal Maso, L.; La Vecchia, C.: Artificial sweeteners and cancer risk in a network of case-control studies(The Annals of Oncology, doi:10.1093/annonc/mdl346).

Lim, Unhee, Subar A.F., Mouw T., Hartge P., Morton L.M., Stolzenberg-Solomon R., Campbell D., Hollenbeck A.R., Schatzkin A.: Consumption of aspartame-containing beverages and incidence of hematopoietic and brain malignancies. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 2006. Vol. 15.

National Cancer Institute: Aspartame and Cancer: Questions and Answers.

EFSA: Updated opinion on a request from the European Commission related to the 2nd ERF carcinogenicity study on aspartame, taking into consideration study data submitted by the Ramazzini Foundation in February 2009. Published: 20 April 2009 Adopted: 19 March 2009.

Asda Press Centre: Sweet Victory as Asda Wins Court Fight Over Sweetener Claim. Supermarket calls on the industry to follow its lead and remove unnecessary, artificial additives from food and soft drink products. 15. July 2009.

FSA: Aspartame study to begin. 22 June 2009.

Carbon Trust.

Daily Mail: Stores draw up official carbon footprint guide to every item we buy. News 30.05.2007.

Wikipedia, the free enzyclopedia: Carbon footprint.

Corrigendum to Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods ( OJ L 404, 30.12.2006 ).

Commission Directive 96/8/EC of 26 February 1996 on foods intended for use in energy-restricted diets for weight reduction.

The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health: Guidance on the implementation of the Regulation EC 1924/2006.

Council Directive 89/398/EEC of 3 May 1989 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to foodstuffs intended for particular nutritional uses.

European infant formula and follow-on formula Regulation Commission Directive 2006/141/EC of 22 December 2006 on infant formulae and follow-on formulae and amending Directive 1999/21/EC Text with EEA relevance.

Commission Directive 2006/125/EC of 5 December 2006 on processed cereal-based foods and baby foods for infants and young children.

Center for Science in the Public Interest: Egg Producers Deceive Consumers, Violate Law with Bogus Omega-3 Claims.

CSPI: Omega-3 madness: Fish oil or snake oil. Stick with fish or fish oil for best heart-health benefits, says Nutrition Action.

Liebman, Bonnie: Omega Medicine?: Is fish oil good for what ails you? Nutrition Action Health Letters. Center for Science in the Public Interest. October 2007, Volume 34. Number 8.

Campos H, Baylin A, Willett WC. Alpha-linolenic acid and risk of nonfatal acute myocardial infarction. Circulation. 2008;DOI:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.762419.

Harris WS. Cardiovascular risk and alpha-linolenic acid. Circulation. 2008;DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.108.791467.

Pan, An; Yu, Danxia; Demark-Wahnefried, Wendy; Franco, Oscar H.; Lin, Xu: Meta-analysis of the effects of flaxseed interventions on blood lipids. Am J Clin Nutr 2009 90: 288-297. First published online June 10, 2009; doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.27469.

Miura K, Stamler J, Nakagawa H, et al. Relationship of dietary linoleic acid to blood pressure. Hypertension. 2008;52:DOI:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.108.112383.

Center for Science in the Public Interest: Egg Producers Deceive Consumers, Violate Law with Bogus Omega-3 Claims.

Wikipedia: Essential fatty acids, Nomeclature and Terminology.

ISSFAL- fatty acids, lipids and health studies: ISSFAL Policy Statement 3. For cardiovascular health, a minimum intake of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid combined of: 500 mg/day.

American Heart Association: Fish and omega-3 fatty acids. AHA recommendation.

Department of Health and Human Services: Food and Drug Administration: 21CFR Part 184 (Docket No. 99P-5332) Substances Affirmed as Generally Recognized as Safe: Menhaden Oil.

Kris-Etherton, Penny M.; Harris, William S.; Appel,Lawrence J.: AHA Scientific statement: Fish Consumption, Fish Oil, Omega-3, Fatty Acids, and Cardiovascular Diseases.

Scientific Opinion of the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies on a request from Pharma Consulting & Industries related to the scientific substantiation of a health claim on I omega kids/Pufan 3 kids and thinking capacity. The EFSA Journal (2008) 845, 1-2.

Wikipedia: Omega-6 fatty acid.

MacDonald M, Rogers Q, Morris J (1984). Nutrition of the domestic cat, a mammalian carnivore. Annu Rev. Nutr 4: 521-62.

CSPI: Why Menu Labeling Is Important.

CSPI: Lawmakers to Introduce Federal Menu-Labeling Bill: MEAL Act Would Require Calorie Labeling on Chain-Restaurant Menus and Menu Boards. May 14, 2009.

Congresswoman Rosa L. De Lauro: Harkin, DeLauro Build On Local Nutrition Efforts with Federal Restaurant Menu Labeling Initiative. May 14. 2009.

CSPI: New York City rave reviews for nutrition labeling.

National Restaurant Association Applauds LEAN Act Introduction in U.S. House and Senate. News March, 11.2009.

EC.Europa: Discussion Paper on the EU Strategy on Alcohol. 2005.

Wine and Spirit Trade Association: WSTA Condemns Government's Attack on Consumers 112.03.2008.

Wikipedia: Actimel.


Wikipedia: Smarties.

Smarties set to lose their tube. bbc news 18 febr 2005.

Wikipedia: Hamburger.

Mc donalds site.

Hospitaliy and travel: Report nielsen.

See also: Related OurFood News
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