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Nutrition claims: a potentially important tool for the endorsement of Greek Mediterranean traditional foods

  • Effie Vasilopoulou
  • Vardis Dilis
  • Antonia TrichopoulouEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Dietary traditions are an important part of cultural identity and the production of traditional foods may provide a considerable income to interested businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. Traditional foods, notably those from the Mediterranean area, earned a reputation for their nutritional quality, and should, therefore, be protected and supported. European law has recently provided a framework to promote the beneficial nutritional and health properties of foods, by allowing the communication of scientifically supported claims, after a standard evaluation procedure. European Commission Regulation 1924 of 2006 is intended to minimize consumer misleading and promote healthy dietary choices. In this context, we have investigated the potential of 194 traditional Greek foods to bear nutrition claims, by comparing their energy content and nutritional composition to the European specifications on a wide range of nutritional components, including protein, total fat and fatty acids, sugars, salt, dietary fiber, and certain vitamins and minerals. The average number of claims per traditional food was 5, with a range between 0 and 14. Overall, about 1,024 nutrition claims were potentially relevant for the 194 traditional foods studied. From those, about half were made on vitamins and minerals. Foods linked with the most claims were nuts and seeds. European Regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods may provide an important tool for the sustainment of Mediterranean traditional foods, since those foods frequently have distinct nutritional qualities.

Keywords

Traditional foods Nutrition claims Mediterranean diet Food labeling Dietary recommendations 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Thanks are due to Basil Mathioudakis and Olga Goulaki for providing information and to Danai Papanastasiou for her valuable comments in the development of this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Effie Vasilopoulou
    • 1
  • Vardis Dilis
    • 2
  • Antonia Trichopoulou
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.WHO Collaborating Center for Food and Nutrition Policies, Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical StatisticsUniversity of Athens Medical SchoolAthensGreece
  2. 2.Hellenic Health FoundationAthensGreece

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