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International Scientific Committee reviews criteria for healthy food choices

An International Scientific Committee of ten eminent food and nutrition experts will review qualifying criteria for healthy food choices. These criteria are used within the Choices Programme for allocating a simple, positive front-of-pack logo on food and beverage products, which helps consumers to identify healthy options at a glance. The Choices Programme is unique because it is cross-industry, international and has a robust, independent, scientific basis.

The Choices Programme is an example of nutrient profiling, a hotly debated area today because of its many potential applications ranging from identifying healthy choices, advertising to children to defining suitability for bearing claims. Because of their complexity and direct impact on consumers, nutrient profiles should be transparent and have a strong scientific basis.

The Choices Programme advocates the use of a single positive logo on healthy food choices across food manufacturers, retailers and caterers. “Consumer research shows credibility and trust in the logo are key. Therefore we take transparency and scientific underpinning very seriously”, says Jup van ‘t Veld, secretary of the Choices International Foundation. “That is why an independent scientific committee is responsible for setting and reviewing the nutritional qualifying criteria.”

Professor Jaap Seidell, chairman of the Choices International Scientific Committee adds: “Because Choices gives full responsibility and independence to the Scientific Committee, leading nutrition experts we approached gladly accepted the invitation to be on the committee”.

Currently the Choices Programme applies qualifying criteria that were developed by independent scientific committees in the Netherlands and Belgium. The international committee will now review these in order to further improve them for global application. Seidell: “The first meeting showed support for the approach taken so far. A number of specific issues were identified that will be debated over the next months. I expect the Committee will come up with its review after summer”.

The International Scientific Committee comprises of:
- Professor Jaap Seidell (chairman), VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Professor Harvey Anderson, University of Toronto, Canada
- Professor Arne Astrup, Royal Veterinary & Agricultural University, Denmark
- Professor Gülden Pekcan, Hacettepe University, Turkey
- Professor Barry Popkin, University of North Carolina, USA
- Professor Hildegard Przyrembel, Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, Germany
- Doctor Nelia Steyn, South African Medical Research Council, South Africa
- Professor Linda Tapsell, University of Wollongong, Australia
- Professor Greet Vansant, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
- Professor Maria Daniel Vaz de Almeida, University of Porto, Portugal

Jup van 't Veld | alfa
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