A new front of pack food labelling system to help people check the healthiness of products is set to be introduced across all supermarkets by 2013, the Government announced yesterday [24 Oct].

Labels will include information on guideline daily amounts (GDAs), be colour coded with a traffic light system and use the words "high", "medium" or "low" to inform people about how much fat, saturated fat, salt, sugar and calories are inside. This a voluntary scheme, but Government has said it is confident that all supermarkets will adopt the new system.

Alison Nelson, an independent public health nutritionist and BDA member, endorsed the move. She told delegates attending yesterday's JFHC's Nutrition Day in Central London that healthy eating messages are compromised when packaging is unclear, therefore sending the wrong messages to parents. This would be a welcome step in the right direction.

Her talk centred on eating well and focused on how labels, legislation and advertising all have an effect on our eating patterns. She also spoke of her belief that "Infancy is a critical period to prevent childhood obesity".

The British Dietetic Association Chairman, Helen Davidson, echoed Alison's views, saying: "The British Dietetic Association wants consumers to have access to clear, consistent, at glance information to help them to make informed choices about the food they buy and eat. Consumers need a quick understanding of the relative healthiness of a product. We welcome today's announcement by the Government about front of pack labelling. This is a significant step forward."

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Posted 25/10/2012 by penny.hosie@pavpub.com