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UK: Food industry fights ‘traffic-light’ food labelling scheme

Britain has introduced a voluntary “traffic-light” food labelling system that will help make it easier for people to choose a healthier diet.

The British food industry disagrees with this. Too many of their products would get a red light – meaning eat occasionally or as a treat, if at all. They have launched a system of their own, based on recommended daily allowances. The trouble is, half the adult population and most children can’t understand it.

Research finds fatal flaw in industry’s food labelling scheme

Sustain’s Children’s Food Campaign has found that “almost half of all adults (47 percent) lack the numerical skills to use the percentages used in industry’s labelling scheme.”

Their figures come from the Department for Education’s Skills for Life survey.

Co-ordinator Richard Watts, said: “The food industry will be aware that their new labels will be useless to almost half of adults and most children, who simply lack the complex mathematical skills to interpret them. It is no wonder that the public find traffic light food labels simpler and easier to use.”

Read more: Sustain, 3 Jan 2007

Food agency takes on industry over junk labels

The Food Standards Agency will launch a series of short TV ads in January, reports the Guardian. These ads will tell shoppers how to follow a red, amber and green traffic light labelling system on the front of food packs. “The campaign is a direct response to a concerted attempt by leading food manufacturers and retailers, including Kellogg’s and Tesco, to derail the system,” the paper adds.

Read more: The Guardian, 28 Dec 2006

Why Kellogg’s saw red over labelling scheme

Kellogg’s is leading the British cereal industry’s fight against the traffic light system of classifying food.

The industry intends to ignore the voluntary Food Standards Agency recommendations because many of its products would get a red light. (Red means eat occasionally or as a treat food – if at all.)

Instead, it will promote a rival industry food labelling scheme based on recommended daily amounts.

Read more: The Guardian, 28 Dec 2006

Food firms take on official watchdog in battle of the labels

British food and drink giants have unveiled details of their campaign to promote a food labelling scheme that was earlier rejected by the government’s food watchdog the Food Standards Agency.

Read more: The Guardian, 4 Jan 2007

Published on January 3, 2007 in International news