Food industry and FSA go head to head to tackle obesity

The food industry and the Food Standards Agency (FSA)will go head to head next month as both launch major advertising campaigns to support food labelling schemes.

It is understood that the FSA is planning to launch a TV campaign explaining the traffic light system of food labelling, which uses red, amber or green depending on the levels of fat, salt and sugar in a product. The scheme is used by retailers such as Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.

The majority of the food industry does not support the traffic light scheme because there are claims that it demonises certain food groups such as cereals.

It is thought that food manufacturers and retailers including Tesco and Kellogg’s are planning a campaign to support the rival Guideline Daily Amount(GDA) scheme, which has been more widely adopted.

The GDA system, which is used by 21 manufacturers and retailers, shows consumers how much of their daily allowance of salt, fat and sugar a product contains.

The schemes have been introduced in a bid to tackle rising levels of obesity in the UK by offering consumer better information about what food products contain.

It is understood that both campaigns will break in the New Year and will coincide with the introduction of a ban on the advertising of "junk food" around children’s programming.

The plans were announced by Ofcom in November and it is understood that the food industry is considering plans to launch legal action against the regulator’s decision.

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