News Thursday October 25, 2012

Food labelling to become standardised in the UK

As of Wednesday traffic-light food labelling will become the recommended industry standards for food retailers.

The new standardised labelling system, which is able to indicate at a glance what the nutritional value of a specific food item is, will become the industry standard by mid next year. This comes after ministers and officials in the industry agreed that consumers would benefit from a UK-wide standardised method of traffic-light labelling. All food manufacturers and retailers will be recommended to adhere to this new guidelines if they are to supply food for sale in the United Kingdom.

Sainsbury’s was one of the first retailers to introduce traffic-light labelling across all its ranges. This form of front-of-pack labelling provides a colour-coded indication of the nutritional benefit of a consumable product. For example, if a particular component food is high in comparison to a person’s Guideline Daily Amounts. Currently the only big food retailer that’s opposed to the changes is Iceland, the frozen food giant.

The new recommendation has been welcomed by health campaigners, particularly seeing as obesity and obesity related illnesses costs the NHS billions every year.

Anna Soubry, UK health minister, has said that a ‘consistent system’ will help all consumers control their calorie intake. She said that research has shown that having too many different labels on packaging, which is the case in the UK, can be confusing for some consumers.

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