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Consumers on the Internet: ethical and legal aspects of commercialization of personalized nutrition
Ethics Unit, Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University, Lund, Sweden .
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Centre for Applied Ethics. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Keller and Heckman LLP, Brussels, Belgium.
LEI, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
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2013 (English)In: Genes & Nutrition, ISSN 1555-8932, Vol. 8, no 4, 349-355 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Consumers often have a positive attitude to the option of receiving personalized nutrition advice based upon genetic testing, since the prospect of enhancing or maintaining one’s health can be perceived as empowering. Current direct-to-consumer services over the Internet, however, suffer from a questionable level of truthfulness and consumer protection, in addition to an imbalance between far-reaching promises and contrasting disclaimers. Psychological and behavioral studies indicate that consumer acceptance of a new technology is primarily explained by the end user’s rational and emotional interpretation as well as moral beliefs. Results from such studies indicate that personalized nutrition must create true value for the consumer. Also, the freedom to choose is crucial for consumer acceptance. From an ethical point of view, consumer protection is crucial, and caution must be exercised when putting nutrigenomic-based tests and advice services on the market. Current Internet offerings appear to reveal a need to further guaranty legal certainty by ensuring privacy, consumer protection and safety. Personalized nutrition services are on the borderline between nutrition and medicine. Current regulation of this area is incomplete and undergoing development. This situation entails the necessity for carefully assessing and developing existing rules that safeguard fundamental rights and data protection while taking into account the sensitivity of data, the risks posed by each step in their processing, and sufficient guarantees for consumers against potential misuse.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2013. Vol. 8, no 4, 349-355 p.
Keyword [en]
Personalized nutrition, Direct-to-consumer, Nutrigenomic tests, Attitudes, Consumer acceptance, Ethics, Legal regulation
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-89888DOI: 10.1007/s12263-013-0331-0ISI: 000320733200003OAI: diva2:610307
Available from: 2013-03-11 Created: 2013-03-11 Last updated: 2013-08-19

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Nordgren, Anders
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Centre for Applied EthicsFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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