Report on Functional Foods

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The role of dietary active compounds in human nutrition is one of the most important areas of concern and investigation in the field of nutritional science. The findings of investigations on this subject have wide-ranging implications for consumers, health-care providers and nutrition educators as well as food producers, processors and distributors. New evidence concerning the benefits and risks associated with particular aspects of dietary compounds is constantly emerging in both the scientific literature and the popular media. At times, controversies about these findings emerge. Sifting through all the claims and counterclaims, incomplete and incompatible studies, and biases and competing interests for the elements of truth and a prudent course of action is a challenge. However, such discrimination is essential because changing views about the effects of dietary compounds can profoundly influence the consumption of various foods and, ultimately, health and nutritional status, agricultural production, food processing technologies, food marketing practices and nutrition education.

The present report has the following principal objectives:

  • To present current functional food situation;
  • To examine the latest global and regional regulatory developments for health, nutrients or other functional claims relating to foods;
  • To review and analyze scientific and technical literature related to functional foods and their role in improving nutrition;
  • To establish key criteria for elaborating guidelines for the assessment of functional foods;
  • To propose some recommendations on functional foods.
Muriel Subirade