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Food: Labelling

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects his Department’s (a) Healthy Food Code of Good Practice and (b) evaluation of different food labelling systems to be completed. (184518)

The Government will finalise a Healthy Food Code of Good Practice with industry leaders over the course of 2008. It is designed to be an ongoing partnership with the food industry including manufacturers, retailers, the food service and catering sectors all of which will be challenged to make commitments. The Government’s aim is to develop long term partnerships with all parts of industry to drive sustained improvements that make it easier for consumers to make healthier food choices.

The independent evaluation of front of pack nutrition signposting schemes is expected to be completed by end of 2008.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health which retailers have adopted the Food Standards Authority’s recommended traffic light colour-coded approach to nutrition labelling; and if he will make a statement. (186399)

Currently eight United Kingdom retailers use traffic light front of pack labels; Asda, Budgens/Londis, The Cooperative, Boots, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. This represents more than 40 per cent. by sales of the food retail market in the UK.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the potential of the Food Standards Agency's guidance on the provision of allergen information for non-prepacked foods to reduce consumer choice. (186837)

[holding answer 18 February 2008]: The guidance was produced by a multi-stakeholder group which included representatives of the allergy charities and thus the views of consumers were taken into account as the guidance was developed.

Food allergic and food intolerant consumers need information on the allergen content of foods in order to make safe food choices. The primary aim of this guidance is to increase the information available to such consumers and so enable them to be able to reliably choose the food that is safe for them. Without information on the allergenic ingredients used in the food being provided, many allergic consumers are likely to be restricted in their choices.