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The 1993 nutrition label: development of a rating system and a perspective by nutrition and food industry professionals
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The objectives of this study were to develop a nutrition scoring system which would combine the nutritional information on the new label into a single number, to identify strengths and weaknesses of the new nutritional labels according to nutrition and food industry professionals and to determine if any differences exist between professionals' perception of the nutritional label. A scoring system was designed using the components on the new nutritional label. Labels from main dish products were used for scoring. Each component was given points of 0, 25, 50, 75 or 100 according to the amount present. A score was assigned based on an average of the points. When incorporated with the existing label, the scoring system could be very useful to consumers while still providing specific information for individuals. By making the label easier to understand, it would add to the consumer's willingness to use the label. A questionnaire to assess attitudes toward each component on the new nutritional label was sent to members of the American Dietetic Association (ADA, n--1220)andthelnstituteofFoodTechnologists(IFT,n--441). Atotalof464 professionals (28%) responded of which 79% and 22% were ADA and IFT members, respectively. Responses varied with subject age, position, job function and area of practice or responsibility. With the exception of protein, ADA respondents considered each component of the label to be more important than did I]FT respondents. Both groups ranked kilocalories (kcal), total fat, and sodium to be more important components and vitamin A and C and sugars less important. ADA respondents indicated that percentage kcal from fat and other vitamins and minerals should be added to the label. IFT respondents were concerned with the process and the costs required to modify the labels. In conclusion, the nutritional components on the new label were acceptable to this sample of the population. The observation that differences of opinions within the groups of professionals were not as widespread as expected is important. The less variation seen within the parties involved in label policy, the easier it should be to produce nutrition messages which consumers will understand.
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Osborn, Lacye Ann (1994). The 1993 nutrition label: development of a rating system and a perspective by nutrition and food industry professionals. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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