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New food labelling guidelines introduced

New food labelling guidelines introduced

A new system of labelling on food is set to be rolled out across the UK, the government has announced.

The new scheme will combine the two current guidelines of colour coding and nutritional information, which are already being used on food packaging across the country.

The announcement has been welcomed by many consumer groups, and is the result of a debate that has taken nearly ten years.

Campaigners claim that the introduction of the new scheme will  provide a clear and consistent system of labelling, which would help to combat the rising problem of obesity.

Public health minister Anna Soubry said: "By having all the major retailers and manufacturers signed up to the consistent label, we will all be able to see at a glance what is in our food - this is why I want to see more manufacturers signing up and using the label."

Andrew Opie, of the British Retail Consortium, added: "This is great news for consumers.

"A consistent scheme across all the major supermarkets means wherever we shop we will see the same front-of-pack labelling.

"That will help improve understanding of the label and make healthier choices easier."

However, only 60 per cent of producers will be affected by the changes as they will remain voluntary.

Manufacturers who will be affected include suppliers to supermarkets such as Morrisons and Tesco, as both chains adopted the approach of providing guideline daily amounts (GDA), as opposed to colours.

Reports have suggested that suppliers of sandwiches and ready-made meals have been left reeling by news, with both having entered detailed discussions with the government about how to best to reduce the levels salt found in its products in order to preserve sales.

But recommendations from the Department of Health have suggested pushing back the threshold for suggested salt intake even further, which under the current traffic light scheme would place some reformulated products back into the red zone.

The issue of food labelling has become a hot topic of debate over the past few weeks, with the consumer watchdog Which? voicing its disapproval at plans to decriminalise offences relating to food labelling.

 

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