An Example of a Systematic Literature Review

This resource illustrates how to present the findings of a systematic scientific literature review according to the specifications outlined in the Health Canada Guidance Document for Preparing a Submission for Food Health Claims.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) commissioned systematic literature reviews conducted in accordance with the Health Canada Guidance Document to identify research gaps associated with promising food–health relationships. The reviews addressed the first nine steps of Section 5 of the Health Canada Guidance Document (up to step 9b). As a systematic literature review can only be conducted on a clearly defined topic, Sections 3 and 4 of the Health Canada Guidance Document-the characterization of the food and the characterization of the health effect-were also completed.

The experience gained by completing these literature reviews reinforced the technical and scientific nature of the requirements for substantiating health claims as outlined in the Health Canada Guidance Document. Furthermore, different interpretations were possible for completing the steps in the literature review process. AAFC concluded that agri-food stakeholders would benefit from a resource that illustrates how to present the findings of a systematic scientific literature review according to the specifications outlined in the Health Canada Guidance Document.

The example selected to illustrate the process was a literature review on soy and cardiovascular disease, conducted by Nutrasource Diagnostics Inc. (NDI) for AAFC in March 2010. A smaller but representative sample of the detailed tables and narrative from the original literature review has been included in this resource to demonstrate what is required in the Health Canada Guidance Document steps.

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To obtain the full 70-page resource, send an email message to SDAD-DDAS@agr.gc.ca.

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