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Update - EUR: MEPs vote down traffic light labelling

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Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have voted against a controversial traffic light labelling sytem for food and drink high in sugar, salt and fat.

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MEPs today (16 June) voted for stricter, more uniform food and nutrition labelling across the EU, but they backed Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) over a colour-coded traffic light system on the front of packs.

The vote followed a Parliamentary debate on the European Commission's proposals to introduce new EU-wide food and nutrition labelling rules.

A colour-coded 'traffic light' labelling system, which could be used to highlight unhealthy food and drink, is one of several measures under consideration by the European Commission.

European consumer organisation, BEUC, has backed a front-of-pack traffic light system.

"Independent research tells us that the colour-code labelling scheme, already used by some major supermarkets, is the system of labelling that shoppers find the most useful and easiest to understand," said BEUC director general Monique Goyens.

The food and drink industry is opposed to a traffic light system, which it sees as a crude model that is too simplistic. Many top food and drink firms already use Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) on packs instead.

The UK Food Standards Agency recently gave the green light for companies to opt out of a traffic light labelling system. It backed a combination of GDAs with either traffic light colours or text.

It is expected that the UK will take a lead on food labelling at the EU level.

Julian Hunt, of the UK Food and Drink Federation, said today that he is hopeful the UK system will be adopted across the EU.

For just-drinks' comment on the labelling plans, click here.


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