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What will make nutrition labelling education successful?

The most efficient way to ensure that nutrition labelling education is successful is by requiring nutrition labelling on all food labels. If the current labelling system remains voluntary, many food labels will continue to provide only limited — or no — nutrition information. In that case, consumers may feel that any nutrition education efforts are irrelevant if they have limited applicability. Simply providing educational materials is useless if consumers are not motivated enough to read them or if inadequate use of nutrition labels prevent them from applying their knowledge. However, providing consumers with objective comprehensive nutrition composition on all food labels will increase their interest in, and understanding of, nutrition labelling.

What will your role be in a consumer education program?

CSPI routinely communicates with its 135,000 subscribers to Nutrition Action Healthletter. CSPI will inform its members of changes in nutrition labelling rules and how they can use nutrition labels to improve their diets. CSPI is also the coordinating organization for the Alliance for Food Label Reform whose member-organizations represent roughly two million consumers, health care professionals, and scientists. CSPI will encourage all Alliance organizations to conduct similar educational efforts for their members.

What would support you in helping consumers use the nutrition information panel?

The best support in helping consumers to use the nutrition information panel is making nutrition labelling mandatory. Without comprehensive labelling on all foods, it will be very difficult to educate consumers to use the nutrition information panel. For example, health professionals may find it difficult to advise consumers to avoid high sodium foods if nutrition information is rarely disclosed on such products. Consumers will also find it difficult to compare the nutritional composition of different brands of food products if all foods do not have nutrition labels.

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