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Label reading nutrient criteria: A survey of Australian nutrition professionals

Authors


  • I.S. Pratt, GradDip (Diet), APD, Nutrition and Physical Activity Manager

  • L. Muhlmann, BNutrDiet, BAppSci, APD, Nutrition and Physical Activity Coordinator

  • H. Erickson, MNutrDiet, APD, Dietetics Coordinator

  • Authors have no conflicts of interest to declare. Iain Stephen Pratt, Loren Muhlmann and Hayley Erickson were employed by the Cancer Council WA at the time of the survey.

I.S. Pratt, Cancer Council WA, 15 Bedbrook Place, Shenton Park, WA 6008, Australia. Email: spratt@cancerwa.asn.au

Abstract

Aim:  The aims of the present study were (i) to identify the format of resources that nutrition professionals use to educate consumers about reading nutrition information panels; (ii) to identify the most common nutrient criteria; and (iii) to assess the suitability of the nutrient criteria by assessing them against foods commonly eaten in Australia, from products in NUTTAB 2006.

Methods:  An online 13-question survey, asking about resources and nutrient criteria used, was distributed by email by the Dietitians Association of Australia. A total of 240 surveys were completed. The most common nutrient criteria were identified and tested against common foods in the NUTTAB 2006 database to make an assessment on suitability.

Results:  The most common resource format was diet sheet, and the most common criterion for each nutrient was: energy <600 kJ/snack food, total fat <10 g/100 g, saturated fat <3 g/100 g, sugar <10 g/100 g, fibre >3 g/serve and sodium <120 mg/100 g. One-third of common foods in Australia met all four of the ‘per 100 g’ nutrient criteria.

Conclusions:  The majority of respondents had a set of nutrient criteria for educating consumers about reading and understanding nutrition information panels. The most common nutrient criteria allowed sufficient number of foods to choose from, suggesting that the four most common ‘per 100 g’ nutrient criteria are suitable for use with consumers.

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