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DOI: 10.4067/S0717-75182003000100001

Keywords: functional foods, healthy foods, phytochemicals, health claims, food regulations, consumer information.

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current nutrition is focused mainly on the prevention of chronic non transmissible diseases, whose ethiology is influenced by the quality of diet and lifestyles. consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their self-care and expect to reach or maintain their health and welfare through the foods they eat. in response to this demand, there has been a steep increase in the development of functional foods (ff) by the industry. these foods do not only provide the classical nutrients, but also contain numerous phytochemicals that contribute to the maintenance of optimal health. the production of ff, also called healthy foods, has raised enormously in several countries, while the regulation of their properties as well as the health claims in their labeling have not reached the same grade of development with respect to the appearence of new products in the market. the international organisms have set the definitions of ff, a term not recognized by the chilean food regulations, and the standard for the way health benefit claims can be made. chile accepts a series of health claims, but it is considered that there is an urgent need to establish an agreement among consumers, legislators and industry representatives in order to establish the necessary definitions and rules that may facilitate the consumer's protection, mainly through an adequate access to information


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