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Consistent food labelling system to start

24th October 2012

The government has announced that a consistent system of food labelling will be implemented across Britain next year.

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The front-of-pack information will provide guideline daily amounts, colour coding and the words high, medium or low to indicate fat, sugar and salt content in each product along with the number of calories.

While the system will remain voluntary, and the design of labels has yet to be finalised, the government feels confident the food industry is on board with the initiative.

Food labelling has been in place for some time, but different manufacturers have used different systems with some opting for a traffic light system of labelling and others using guidelines daily amounts (GDAs).

The British government opted for a voluntary system, which could be in place by next summer, because a mandatory system would have required agreement at a European level.

Public Health Minister Anna Soubry said: “The UK already has the largest number of products with front-of-pack labels in Europe, but research has shown that consumers get confused by the wide variety of labels used.

“By having a consistent system we will all be able to see, at a glance, what is in our food. This will help us all choose healthier options and control our calorie intake.”

The news was welcomed by Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, an expert in health promotion from King’s College London, who described it as a "triumph for public health and common sense".

Barbara Gallani of the Food and Drink Federation said the industry in the UK had led the way on the issue.

 

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