According to UK 's Department of Health and Food Standards Agency (FSA) policy and Public health minister Anna Soubry red warning logos will appear on food considered ‘bad’ for health under a new traffic light labeling scheme. The color will signal products that are high in fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt as part of an anti-obesity drive designed to encourage healthy eating. Amber and green will indicate foods deemed ‘medium’ or ‘good’ in terms of health value.
U.K. Puts Red Labels to Warn of Unhealthy Food: Logos to Appear on Items Considered ‘Bad’ for Health in Anti-Obesity Drive According to UK 's Department of Health and Food Standards Agency (FSA) policy and Public health minister Anna Soubry red warning logos will appear on food considered ‘bad’ for health under a new traffic light labeling scheme. The color will signal products that are high in fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt as part of an anti- obesity drive designed to encourage healthy eating. Amber and green will indicate foods deemed ‘medium’ or ‘good’ in terms of health value. The voluntary scheme is being unveiled by the Government today and has already received backing from those supermarkets and manufacturers that had previously opposed it. Nestle, Mars, PepsiCo, Premier Foods and McCain have signed up along with major retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, the Co-operative and Waitrose, which together account for 60 per cent of UK food sales. Other companies are now under pressure to back the controversial regime, which has been welcomed by some health and consumer groups as a major breakthrough in efforts to combat obesity. The labels will also carry figures to identify the level of fat, salt and sugar in terms of grams and as a percentage of the so-called ‘reference intake’ – the recommended daily maximum for adults. While the system will identify processed food, red warnings will also appear on choices such as salmon, cheese, full fat milk and some meat, because they are high in fat even though they contain important nutrients. The system will aim to reduce the £5.1billion a year spent by the NHS on obesity-related illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Almost two in three adults and one in three children are overweight. Public health minister Anna Soubry said it is time for a standard traffic light system to replace the current confusing mix of nutrition labels. ‘We all have a responsibility to tackle the challenge of obesity, including the food industry,’ she said. Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, called it a ‘first class scheme’ that will make it easier for shoppers make more informed choices. And Richard Lloyd of Which? added: ‘With levels of obesity and diet-related disease on the increase, it’s vitally important that people know what is in their food.’ Sainsbury’s boss Justin King said the industry has a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ chance to take a consistent approach, but Tam Fry, of the Child Growth Foundation, said the Government should have made the labeling compulsory. ‘The problem we have is that 40 per cent of food will not be covered by the new label and that will create confusion,’ he said. ‘Also we have a situation where foods which are important for health, such as oily fish, cheese or milk will get a red label, which is internationally understood as a warning to steer clear. ‘I would have preferred a series of shades of red to make the scheme reflect this.’ There is also concern that the figures on the new labels, which are being phased in from today, give nutritional information in the context of an adult’s daily diet. As a result, the information beyond the color is not much use for children. Professor Mitch Blair, of the Royal College of Pediatrics, called for a more drastic approach. ‘We need to look at reducing the consumption of unhealthy foods by measures such as taxation of sugary drinks, responsible advertising that doesn't target children and ensuring healthy foods are readily available and affordable,’ he said.
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