EU votes against traffic light food labelling

The European Parliament has rejected “traffic light” labelling schemes, which would have meant red warning labels for foods seen as unhealthy because they are high in fat, sugar or salt.

The European Members of Parliament (MEPs) have however backed plans for more uniform food labelling in the EU, in the wake of intense lobbying from the food industry.

The traffic light system involves marking food packaging with red, amber or green symbols depending on the levels of sugar, fat and salt in the contents.

The Guidelines Daily Amounts or the GDA scheme which has been approved means food would have to show its calorie, sugar, salt and fat content on the front of packs. Labels would also show the place of provenance of all forms of meat, not just beef or fish as at present.

The deal on GDA labelling did not appease the British Heart Foundation, whose chief executive Peter Hollins, says: “The European Parliament should be ashamed of putting the interests of the food lobby ahead of the health of the people they represent.”

The battle is not yet over. After Wednesday’s vote the issue now goes back to EU government ministers for more negotiations.

The Children’s Food Campaign has also reacted with disappointment that sufficient MEPs had failed to vote in favour of a traffic light nutrition labelling scheme for food products across Europe, and expressed anger that the vote prevents such schemes at a national level.

Dr Mike Rayner, chair of the Children’s Food Campaign, says: “With over half of Europeans and more than 60% of people in the UK now overweight, this outcome is a massive blow for consumers. Traffic light labels have been found to help parents make healthier food choices for their children, so their rejection is yet another set back in the fight against childhood obesity.”

This story first apperared on Pitch.

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