Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Will nutritional labelling help the nations fight against obesity

There has been a lot of media hype around the worry of rising obesity levels in Britain in the last few months.
Extraordinary preventative measures suggested include health warnings in plus size clothes and even more amazingly - a fat tax! Both of which I am sure will go a long way to helping the mental state of anyone over a size 16.
On the flip side - something good always comes from such PR.
Some of the UK's biggest food manufacturers are launching a £4m campaign to promote nutritional labels. The labels show percentages of guideline daily amounts (GDA) of sugar, salt, fat and calories in each serving. Another way is to use colours - red, amber and green labels - where green is good and red warns not to consume too much - approved by the Food Standards Agency.
I think this is a huge step forward - convenvience food is a necessity to many due to the fast paced nature of our lives, however it has to take responsibility for some of the food issues surrounding the western world today. Much of the time people eat things which they have no idea of its contents, and this is often used to the advantage of manufacturers who can increasingly up the levels of salt, sugar and fat to improve flavour and shelf life to the detriment of the health or weight of the consumer.
Offering more transparency into the food we are eating gives everyone the chance to take control of their nutritional balance whilst still living in the real world where it isn't realistic to cook from scratch.
There are 21 companies involved and the general consensus is that people will stop buying products with red labels. Does this mean manufacturers will have to work to improve the contents of the 'red' foods? Only a good thing if you ask me.
The GDA campaign is supported by a coalition of the UK's biggest food and drink manufacturers as well as supermarkets Tesco, Somerfield and Morrison and will be shown on print and TV adverts soon.

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