Nutrition labelling of pre-packaged foods in Belgrade, Serbia: current situation.

Public health nutrition

PubMedID: 25374093

Davidovic DB, Tomic DV, Paunovic KZ, Vasiljevic ND, Jorga JB. Nutrition labelling of pre-packaged foods in Belgrade, Serbia: current situation. Public Health Nutr. 2014;1-10.
OBJECTIVE
To determine the presence of nutrition labels on pre-packaged food products, as well as to analyse the types of presentation.

DESIGN
This was a descriptive study. The following characteristics were analysed: (i) presence and placement of the nutrition declaration (either as front-of-pack (FOP) or back-of-pack (BOP)); (ii) content of the presented information; (iii) presence of nutrition and health claims; and (iv) legibility of the written information. Settings Three different types of retailers in Belgrade, Serbia.

SUBJECTS
A total of 2138 pre-packaged food products from ten categories.

RESULTS
A nutrition declaration was found on 65·9 % of all tested products. It was displayed on the back of the packaging of 62·7 % of products and on the front of the packaging of 19·1 % of products. BOP was the most commonly observed in breakfast cereals, soft drinks, milk and instant soups (in total over 90 %), and the least common in meat products (21·5 %). FOP was predominantly displayed on breakfast cereals (65·0 %) and the least frequently on milk products (2·4 %). The 'Big 4' (energy value, protein, carbohydrate and fat contents) and the 'Big 4 with additional information' figured on 40·9 % of products. The 'Big 8' ('Big 4' plus sugar, saturated fat, fibre and sodium contents) and the 'Big 8 with additional information' were present less frequently (20·5 %). Nutrition claims and health claims appeared on very few products (6·6 % and 6·3 %, respectively). The proportion of products with insufficient legibility was 31·5 %.

CONCLUSIONS
Nutrition labelling in Belgrade, Serbia is not satisfactory. Mandatory regulations may be the best way to improve the current situation.