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Food: Labelling

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 4 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials have had with representatives of the food industry on the relationship between provision of information on (i) salt, (ii) sugar and (iii) fat content of foods and individuals’ ability to manage diabetes, heart disease, stroke, obesity and other chronic medical conditions; what recent representations he has received about this issue; what discussions on the matter he has had with colleagues in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; and if he will make a statement. (186401)

Officials in the Department of Health have regular discussions with the food industry and other Government Departments, including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, about the provision of information to consumers that enables them to make healthier food choices. People with chronic diseases such as diabetes and stroke should seek advice from their general practitioner or other health care professional about their particular dietary needs.

Food Standards Agency (FSA) officials are in regular dialogue with food industry representatives on this issue as part of discussions on the development and review of front of pack nutrition signpost labelling. The Department is encouraging the industry to provide traffic light colour coded front of pack labels for these nutrients, in line with the FSA’s recommendations, which were developed to provide individuals with at-a-glance information to help them make healthier choices in line with their particular dietary needs. This is just one of a range of Government initiatives designed to improve diets, and in doing so, contribute to reducing the prevalence of diet-related diseases, such as obesity, coronary heart disease and some cancers.