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Food-based dietary guidelines

Development process

©FAO / Giulio Napolitano

Dietary guidelines are developed by interdisciplinary teams of experts, comprising representatives of agriculture, health, education, nutrition and food science, consumers, non-governmental organizations, the food industry, communications and anthropology.

Many sources of information are reviewed in this process, such as scientific evidence of the relationship between diet, nutrition and health; and data on food production, food consumption, food composition, cost and accessibility.

Once the draft guidelines and food guide have been prepared, they are pilot-tested with consumer groups to ensure they are practical and comprehensible and the messages are well-suited to the cultural, social and economic situation of a particular country.

In recent years, an increasing number of countries have developed guidelines that promote and protect traditional food cultures and take into account the impact of dietary patterns and the food system on the natural environment. Read more

The implementation of dietary guidelines should be monitored and evaluated regularly. It would be useful to develop implementation and evaluation mechanisms in parallel with the development of the guidelines themselves, in order to sensitize the nation’s nutrition leaders and bring an action plan into play at the same time as the guidelines are promulgated.