What are traffic light food labels and is it compulsory to put them on food packaging in the UK?

The new measures will come into effect from January 2019  – but what do the labels show? We explain.

What are traffic light food labels?

Many food and drinks available across the UK now show a traffic light label indicating the energy, fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt content in in the product.

These labels are displayed as a panel or grid on the front or side of packaging and may also provide additional information on other nutrients like fibre.

The information is often indicative of nutrients per portion or per 100g.

What do the colours on the label mean?

Some front-of-pack nutrition labels use red, amber and green colour coding.

Colour-coded nutritional information tells you at a glance if the food has high, medium or low amounts of fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt:

  • Red = High
  • Amber = Medium
  • Green = Low

Basically, the more green on the label, the healthier the choice.

If you buy a food that has all or mostly green on the label, you know straight away that it's a healthier choice.

Amber means neither high nor low, so you can eat foods with all or mostly amber on the label most of the time.

But any red on the label means the food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugars and these are the foods we should cut down on.

Are these labels compulsory?

Traffic light labelling is currently voluntary in the UK, as is part of a government scheme introduced in 2013.

Under EU rules, traffic light labelling is voluntary, so some manufacturers do not use it.

Many supermarkets have voluntarily adopted the traffic light system for their own brands, while cereal maker Nestle introduced the "traffic light" scheme on its brands including Shreddies and Cheerios in 2017.

Weetabix has used the system since 2016.

Kellogg’s will start using them on UK and Ireland packaging from January 2019.


Source: Read Full Article