January 14/London/Daily Mail -- Making fast food chains print nutritional facts on packaging makes no difference to diners' choices, researchers have found.
A 13-month study of restaurants where mandatory labelling had been brought in found customer tastes remained just the same.
Professor Eric Finkelstein, who examined a chain of Mexican restaurants in and around Seattle in the U.S., said, "Given the results of prior studies, we had expected the results to be small, but we were surprised we could not detect even the slightest hint of changes in purchasing behavior.
"The results suggest mandatory menu labelling, unless combined with other interventions, may be unlikely to significantly influence the obesity epidemic."
In Britain, companies such as McDonald's now print the fat, salt, calorie and carbohydrate content of their foods to help people make healthy choices.
However, Kiersten Strombotne, who co-authored the report with Finkelstein, of Duke-National University of Singapore, told the American Journal for Preventive Medicine, "It may be that detailed nutritional information is not the best way to convey the health content of fast foods.
"For example, if you know a store offers diet and regular soda, does showing how many calories are in regular soda really offer any relevant information? Those who want a lower calorie drink already know to drink the diet soda."
From the January 17, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News
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