Skip to main content

Food: Labelling

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 11 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of front-of-pack food labelling designed to assist people to make healthier food choices. (240367)

The Food Standards Agency recommends that businesses use front of pack nutrition labelling based on four core principles:

provision of information for fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt;

red, amber or green colour coding to provide at a glance information on the level (ie whether high, medium or low) of individual nutrients in a product;

provision of additional information on the levels of nutrients present in a portion of the product; and

use of the nutritional criteria developed by the agency.

This recommendation is based on a comprehensive set of consumer research data which indicated that this was the approach most likely to be helpful to consumers.

With publication of “Healthy Weight Healthy Lives” in January 2008 (a copy of which has already been placed in the Library) the Government committed to finding a single, simple and effective approach to food labelling to be used by the whole food industry, based on the principles that will be recommended by the Food Standards Agency in light of independent research currently being undertaken. This research is evaluating the effectiveness of front of pack signpost labelling schemes currently in use in the United Kingdom market place in terms of enabling consumers to make healthier choices. The research is expected to be published in April 2009.