Brasin Food : Bringing Psychological Insights to Bear on Modern Nutrition Labeling Efforts

March 2010

65 Food and Drug Law Journal 159-184 (2010).

Food and drug law presents legislators and policy makers with a powerful tool to inform individual dietary decisions and improve public health: mandatory nutritional labeling.
Most Americans report that they consult nutritional information when making food purchases; yet, knowing whether individuals report consulting nutritional information is different than knowing how they actually process and utilize that information.

Although the latter question is more difficult to answer, it holds the key for efficient and effective food labeling. This article argues that psychological research can answer that question. It does so by explaining well-established psychological findings that have the greatest potential application to food labeling efforts. It then examines two recent nutritional labeling initiatives from a psychological lens, illustrating how well each initiative reflects findings from the field. By doing so, this paper aims to help government regulators and private businesses develop more targeted and effective labeling initiatives.


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