The British government today went against their own Tory MEPs and decided to recommend the ‘traffic light’ system for food labelling to retailers and manufacturers in the UK.
It is tragic and to our great shame that obesity rates are higher in Britain than anywhere else in Europe. One of the ways to help tackle this very serious problem is to make sure that consumers have clear and honest nutritional labelling which enables them to make healthier choices when they do their shopping.
The ‘traffic light’ labelling system colour codes the information making it easier for consumers to assess and compare products at a glance. This should help all of us make more informed decisions about what we eat.
Labour Leader in the European Parliament, Glenis Willmott, who introduced the new system, commented, “It’s just a shame that the Tory MEPs weren’t so constructive when food labelling laws were being discussed in the European Parliament. I put forward proposals for traffic light labelling to be used on all processed foods, but these were vociferously opposed by Tory MEPs.”
Glenis also made a commitment to continue to push for red, amber and green ‘traffic lights’ on all processed foods sold in the EU. Glenis is absolutely right in believing that some of the big multi-national food companies will only change their ways when they are told that in order to sell their food in the world’s biggest trading bloc, they have to be honest about what is in it.
Although it is the case that Glenis Willmott was unsuccessful in getting mandatory traffic light labelling for all processed foods agreed by the European Parliament, I understand that the European Commission made a commitment to revisiting the idea in the near future.