Europe votes against food ‘traffic lights’

In a European-wide setback for the idea’s proponents, the European Parliament has voted against the “traffic light” food-labelling system, following concerns that the nutrient-profiling tool would create a highly simplistic scheme.

A lack of scientific evidence, on which the nutrient profiling is supposedly based, appears to have triggered the move.

The European Parliament’s Industry Committee, one of three committees looking at labelling and nutrient profiling at European level, has voted to scrap nutrition profiling from its agenda. The system is, however, favoured by UK health lobby groups, such as the Food Commission.

A spokeswoman for the Food Standard Agency says the UK can continue with nutrient profiling, which the FSA has been consulting on, even if it does not have the backing of the European Parliament, as it is a tool rather than a policy.

The FSA is considering the responses to its consultation and it is expected to release the results later this spring.

The FSA is also consulting on the second stage of the sign-posting labelling research, after the first stage found that consumers prefer a simple or multi-traffic light system. The consultation was launched on March 19.

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