Food Safety for Chronic Disease Prevention Through Product Reformulation


This topic was moderated by Hui-Yu Sheu, M.S., R.D. and Angela H. Lu, Ph.D., R.D and featured three lectures.


Elizabeth Dunford, Ph.D., Food Policy Division, The George Institute for Global Health, Australia discussed challenges and opportunities in monitoring changes in the global food supply. In 2010 The Food Monitoring Group established a global branded food composition database to track the nutritional content of foods and make comparisons between countries, food companies and over time in an effort to observe whether companies were adhering to their reformulation commitments. Dr. Dunford shared lessons learned from establishing this database and discussed challenges and opportunities arising from ongoing change in the global food supply. Dr. Dunford noted that data from Australia and the United Kingdom were used to define baseline levels of sodium in major food categories to enable monitoring of changes over time. Comparisons of sodium levels between years exposed the limited progress with sodium reduction in Australia and New Zealand, with data presented at the individual company level.


Wen-Han Pan, Ph.D., Researcher, National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan gave a lecture entitled, “Product Reformulation Embracing Whole Foods and Cultural Needs for Better Health.” Dr. Pan discussed the prevalence of processed foods in the modern diet, and the health-related reasons why processed food products may be reformulated to include higher amounts of whole foods. Dr. Pan shared options for enriching ingredient lists further with the benefits of increased amounts of whole foods, including nuts, seeds, whole grain products, low-fat dairy products, and dairy products supplemented with calcium, fiber, vitamin D, and probiotics.


Rutger Schilpzand, Executive Secretary, Choices International Foundation, Belgium discussed product reformulation driven by front-of-pack logo systems. Mr. Schilpzand shared experiences from the implementation of a front-of-pack logo used in several European countries. The implementation of this logo led to product reformulation in some sectors, and as such has had a positive impact on consumer health and consumer knowledge. Due to its positive effect, this front-of-pack logo has been implemented in several countries and is also being used as a model for the development of national logo systems in others. Mr. Schilpzand cited a study done at VU University of Amsterdam Kroonenburg that found the logo system to have been a strong driver for product reformulation.