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Food: Labelling

Volume 715: debated on Monday 7 December 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress is being made to ensure consistent labelling of nutritional information about food products, particularly in respect of salt content. [HL263]

Negotiations are under way in the European Parliament and Council to update European nutrition labelling legislation, with an outcome expected in 2011. In these negotiations the Government are pressing for mandatory nutrition labelling on most pre-packed foods including nutritional information on the salt content.

Currently the provision of nutrition information on foods is voluntary unless a claim is made or vitamins and minerals are voluntarily added to the food. However, legislation is in place which sets out the manner in which nutrition information can be given. These rules require that when nutritional information is provided on salt content it must be declared as sodium. However because the term is not widely understood by consumers many manufacturers choose to additionally declare the equivalent value as salt.