EU-wide food labelling plans threaten fmcg initiative

The European Commission has mooted radical proposals for food labelling in an attempt to clamp down on obesity and junk food.

The move could overturn recent attempts by fmcg brand owners and the Government to introduce their own designs.

The EC’s plans for a simplified system for the 27-nation European Union would see designers and manufacturers required to communicate six nutritional elements, including total fat, saturated fat, energy, carbohydrates, sugar and salt. This would have to be in letters at least 3mm high and must be legible, according to reports.

While alcoholic drinks would avoid the policy, alcopops, which mix fruit juice and soft drinks with alcohol, are included because they target teenage consumers.

Otherwise, all packaged foods from outside EU countries would have to meet the labelling criteria.

The move aims to tackle the numerous labelling systems employed by the Food Standards Agency and supermarkets and manufacturers, which can lead to confusion among shoppers.

The proposals have a long way to go before becoming law, because they must first be backed by national governments and the European Parliament.

This means that the FSA’s traffic lights system, and supermarkets’ own initiatives, will continue in the meantime.

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