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Fiona Pelly and Susie Parker Simmons

Food provision at the Olympic Games has evolved considerably since the advent of a unified menu, but there are challenges in existing catering for the expanding cultural and sporting diversity. Continuity between events is difficult due to the changes in location, organizing committees, caterers, athletes, support staff, and volunteers. Independent review of the food provision by sports nutrition experts has been implemented to help establish some consistency between Olympic Games. The aim of this study was to compare an expert desk top and onsite review of the food provided at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and compare this with a similar review at the London 2012 Olympic Games. A previously developed survey was completed by sports nutrition experts 6 months prior to the opening of the Rio 2016 Olympic village and during the Olympic Games in September 2016. Questions about the food provision included both scaled and open-ended responses. There was a significantly lower rating for menu variety onsite (p = .025) versus the desk top review. All aspects of the menu and the ability to cater for specific situations rated as average or less. A significantly (p = .007) lower overall median rating was obtained for Rio (five out of 10) compared with London (eight out of 10), with hot gluten-free items rated as poor at both events. Comments from experts related to lack of variety, sports and recovery foods, absence of signage, and inaccurate nutrition labeling. An improved process for expert nutrition review at these events is warranted.