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Making Smart Choices: Health Claims, Regulation, and Food Packaging

Butler, Kimberly Mei Ling (2010) Making Smart Choices: Health Claims, Regulation, and Food Packaging. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Facing high rates of obesity and chronic disease, American consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the importance of their dietary choices, including the need to purchase "healthy" products. Food manufacturers cater to this demand by presenting health claims on the fronts of their packages. However, there is a public health concern that the proliferation of claims serving commercial interests may be misleading or confusing to consumers. Federal regulation must play a key role in any efforts to improve this health claim system, but the Food and Drug Administration has historically been reluctant to allow health claims or to guide their content. Behavioral models for consumer use of nutrition information indicate that front-of-pack labeling is a likely format for effectively encouraging healthier food purchases. Other countries have implemented national front-of-pack campaigns, and have experienced moderate success. However, in the United States many corporations and organizations administer proprietary front-of-pack health claim systems, each with its own nutritional criteria. Smart Choices, introduced in 2009, is one such program. Critical public health and media attention prompted the program's hiatus, and led the Food and Drug Administration to consider mandating a standardized, national system. This thesis recommends the implementation of a national food labeling program modeled after the UK's nutritional signposting system of labeling, which discloses both positive and negative nutritional information.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Butler, Kimberly Mei
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKeane, Christophercrkcity@pitt.eduCRKCITY
Committee MemberInman, J Jeffreyjinman@katz.pitt.eduJINMAN
Committee MemberRohrer, Wesleywmrun@pitt.eduWMRUN
Date: 29 June 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 15 April 2010
Approval Date: 29 June 2010
Submission Date: 12 April 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: FDA; FOP
Other ID:, etd-04122010-130208
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:36
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:39


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