Front-of-pack labelling under spotlight

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said it is looking for a ‘flexible approach’ when it comes to front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labelling in a new paper publishe on Friday.

The FSA proposes that the way information about the amount of fat, saturated fat, salt and sugars in a product is presented should use three elements, traffic light colours, text and % GDAs, and it will now be discussed at an open Board meeting next week (10 March).

Tim Smith, FSA chief executive said: “This approach is all about what consumers have told us they want. Independent research and citizens’ forums told us that people were confused and wanted a single approach developed by government. We also appreciate and understand that food businesses are starting from different positions. Our proposals respond to what consumers want but also provide some flexibility for business.”

Reacting to the FSA’s Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labelling briefing paper, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said UK retailers are already at the forefront of providing the maximum possible nutritional information in the clearest possible way and were the first to adopt easy to understand front-of-pack nutritional labelling.

Andrew Opie, BRC food director said: “UK retailers are leading the way on food labelling and have done so for many years. Retailers have developed nutrition information that they know works best for their customers.

“It would be too soon for the UK to adopt any new regime of its own until a final decision about front-of-pack labelling is taken at European level. Changing and then changing again would just produce extra costs and customer confusion.”

The FSA Board will now discuss the proposals at its open meeting on Wednesday (10 March) in Cardiff. Following the Board’s decision, the FSA will then formally submit its recommendations on FOP to the Department of Health.