Consumers read food labels, many doubt claims

by Bryan Salvage
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SILVER SPRING, MD. – Most consumers read food labels and are increasingly aware of the link between good nutrition and reducing the risk of disease, claims a new survey of dietary habits released March 2 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

More than half of those surveyed "often" read a label the first time they buy a product, the 2008 U.S. Health and Diet Survey of more than 2,500 adults from every state and the District of Columbia discovered. Although the number of consumers reading a food label the first time they buy a product has increased, many consumers remain skeptical of industry claims such as "low fat," "high fiber," or "cholesterol free" stated on the front of packages.

The 10th such survey since 1982, the 2008 survey was based on a random-digit-dialing telephone survey weighted for the number of phone lines and adults in a household, gender, race/ethnicity, and education. Calls for the survey were made between Sept. 6, 2008, and Dec. 7, 2008. The overall 95% confidence level is plus or minus two percentage points.

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