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Researcher portrait: Dr Igor Pravst

Igor PravstIgor Pravst an associate professor at the University of Ljubljana and head of research group Nutrition and Public Health at the Nutrition Institute (Slovenia). He is the lead researcher of “Current status of health claims and symbols: Product supply” and has been part of the CLYMBOL project from the beginning.

 

How did you get involved in the CLYMBOL project?

After the regulation on health claims was harmonised in the EU [Regulation No 1924/2006], we started a national research project. Our goal was to access consumers’ exposure to health claims and the influence of claims on consumer behaviour. Understanding the impact of health claims was recognised as a key topic at EU level, which resulted in an FP7 call for proposals in 2011. At that time, we approached EUFIC, the coordinator of the very successful project FLABEL, to contribute our expertise to this project.


What do you do for the project?

I am a research partner and lead the first work area “Current status of health claims and symbols: Product supply”. In our part of the project we mapped the presence of health claims and symbols on the market and in which context they appear, but also on which products health claims and symbols are used. We also analysed what criteria is used for assigning symbols.


What is the outcome of your research?

We determined important country-wise and food category related differences in the use of health claims and symbols. In addition, we assessed the nutritional quality of food labelled with claims.

 

What impact do you hope your research will have?

I hope that our research will on the one hand support policy makers in future decisions and actions, which in turn will improve public health. On the other hand, I hope the results of the project will also support the food industry to create innovative and successful new products.

 

About the person

Igor Pravst’s basic education is in chemistry. In 2009 he moved to the Nutrition Institute in Ljubljana (Slovenia) where he is now the leader of the multi-institutional national research programme group Nutrition and Public Health and he is also appointed as an Assistant Professor in Nutrition.
He is active in the fields of food sciences and nutrition, particularly in connection with the composition and labelling of foods, including functional foods, and the stability of nutrients. Igor Pravst is also a member of the expert group on nutrition and health claims at the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment of the Republic of Slovenia, and member of the National Board for Food Safety.
In 2012 he joined the Biotechnical Faculty at the University of Ljubljana to work with fellow researchers on the FP7 project CLYMBOL, leading the first work area “Current status of health claims and symbols: Product supply”.

 

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