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Tres Ríos, Costa Rica
Tres Ríos, Costa Rica

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Blanco-Metzler A.,INCIENSA | Blanco-Metzler A.,University of Chile | Blanco-Metzler A.,National University of Jujuy | Blanco-Metzler A.,University of San Carlos of Guatemala | And 38 more authors.
Archivos Latinoamericanos de Nutricion | Year: 2014

The Latin American Network of Food Composition Data System (LATINFOODS) is the regional data center of the global network "International Network on Food Data Systems" (INFOODS) co-sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations University (UNU). The aim of this work is to provide information on the main activities held and challenges during the period 2009- 2012. The activities included: network organization, technological development, research, web site modification, database location, publication of new food composition tables, organization and participation in scientific activities, assistance and training. During this period, new strategic alliances where food composition is key were developed. This promoted more activities and strengthen working links in the region. The main challenges were: 1) to improve and update the regional database 2) to improve the national capacities for generating and compiling data to elaborate and update the national food composition tables 3) to establish and implement the database software in branches; 4) to reach technical and financial sustainability. Despite the fact that the network has a dynamic structure consolidated, trained and experienced members, a database of regional food composition, specialized tools and documents; more support for sustainability and progress is required.


The nutritional labeling regulations for prepackaged foods based on the Codex Alimentarius legislation enacted in 2002 in Costa Rica. In the same year, a research was conducted in order to describe the baseline of nutritional labeling. The declared information on the labels of all prepackaged foods was collected, except for alcoholic beverages. Six variables were analyzed using SPSS. 2,910 labels of foods were reviewed and classified in 19 food categories. 58.4% (n= 1698) included nutritional information, proportion that varied by country of origin and food category. Of the labels that included nutritional information, 68.1% had nutritional panel, 1.2% nutrient claims and 27.4%, both. 95% of the nutritional components declared on the labels included energy and macronutrients data. At least 100 different nutritional and health claims were identified. Most frequently used claims were content (74.7%), followed by addition (16.9%). The components most frequently mentioned were vitamins and minerals, vitamins (alone), carbohydrates, total fat, cholesterol and energy. Food groups who reported these descriptors were: cereals and by products, baby foods, milks, beverages, foods for special dietary uses and substitutes. One to five descriptors were used in a label. In a decade the proportion of prepackaged foods with nutritional labeling tripled in the metropolitan area of Costa Rica. It is concluded that the tendency of nutrition information declaration is up, sustained and represents an accessible tool for health promotion, if the information provided is reliable and secure.

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