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Dec 6, 2012 08:10 AM

question for non-american folks and food labels.

Is it common for prepared edible products in other countries to tout supposed health benefits?

I, for one, find texts espousing the bowel movements you are going to have after eating yogurt to be in poor taste. Maybe it is just me.

Are Americans uniquely susceptible to this? Do Scotts have labels all over their oatmeal telling them about their cholesterol? Do Spaniards read about their Omega-3's on their canned sardines?

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  1. Health claims do not generally feature on product packaging or advertising in the UK. Indeed, most would probably contravene "misleading claims" legislation.

    There are exceptions, where the health benefits are specifically proven. So, for example, Benecol markets its spreads on the strength of it being "proven to lower cholestorol".

    Omega 3 eggs are on general sale in supermarkets - as far as I know there are no descritpions of health benefits of Omega 3 on the packaging. Presumably folk who know what Omega 3 is and know what the perceived benefits are do not need description. I'm not one of them and have no interest in learning what it is.

    1. All the time. I travel a lot and have noticed this in many places, including on a bag of mixed nuts in Romania and tea in Mexico.

      1. In Israel the probiotic yogurt to "promote digestion" is here - but that is probably due to American influence as much as anything.

        1. The health claims are there, but such things are *very* tightly regulated in France -- make too many claims, and you move your product into the category of products allowed to be sold only in pharmacies....and as Harters mentioned, has to teeter on the line between hype and misleading claims.

          there's an entire aisle of Activia yogurts and related products in the supermarkets, along with Danacol and its ilk...

          You see health claims, but they're not the "flashing neon lights" variety seen in the States.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sunshine842

            I know that it's the case in a few places in the Middle East - but emphasis of a product being made with olive oil often feeds into local assumptions/traditions that olive oil is healthy. Not for any health benefits specifically, but items such as packaged potato chips made in olive oil reads as "healthy" (or at least 'healthier').

            I'm not commenting on the health benefits of olive oil or not, but generially in the region it's perceived as a generic healthy item (whether in beauty products or food products). So whether or not it's the same as the probiotic yogurt or not - as a non-native to the region I find the labeling a bit more suspect.

          2. Don't know if it's still true, but I remember in Germany the Nutella and Kinder products were labeled as healthy because they're "made with skim milk"!