In Brief

Codex agrees to scientific risk assessment
After 10 years of debate, Codex, the international food guidelines body, has agreed to the principle of scientific risk assessment when establishing vitamins? and minerals? upper safe limits. The agreement reached by the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses has been welcomed by the food supplements industry. It is likely to be ratified by the Codex Alimentarius in July 2005 and is expected to strongly influence the development and modification of national food laws. ?This guideline provides governments across the world with long-sought regulatory guidance to ensure both the safety of their consumers and compliance with their international trade commitments,? said Simon Pettman, executive director of the International Alliance of Dietary Supplements Associations.

Consumers baffled by GI
A survey conducted by UK-based market researcher Leatherhead Food International has found that while one third of consumers are aware of the Glycaemic Index, most did not understand the underlying concepts and so are not able to interpret product labelling, despite GI education efforts including a GI labelling scheme instigated by supermarket giant Tesco. Consumers shown a pita bread package with a ?medium GI? sticker said they did not have enough information to make an informed decision. Others believed GI to be a food industry marketing ploy. ?In order for the GI to be successful, it will be necessary to educate the consumer and remove feelings of scepticism,? the report stated.

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