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Obesity: Food labelling system launched

A voluntary, standard front of pack labelling scheme has been launched, which could make it easier for people to choose healthy foodThe system will combine both traffic light colour-coding and nutritional information to show much fat, saturated fat, salt, sugar and calories are in food products. 

Research has shown that people can be 'bewildered' by the different nutrition labels on food. 

Supermarkets have joined with manufacturers such as Nestle UK and PepsiCo UK to use the same style of label on packaging. 

“The UK already has the largest number of products using a front of pack label in Europe but we know that people get confused by the variety of labels that are used,” said Public Health Minister Anna Soubry. 

Soubry believes that everyone should be responsible for helping to tackle the challenge of obesity, including the food industry. 

She said: “By having all major retailers and manufacturers signed up to the consistent label, we will all be able to see at a glance what is in our food - this is why I want to see more manufacturers signing up and using the label.” 

According to the Department of Health, the labels are not designed to “demonise” foods with lots of reds, but to have people consider what they are eating. 

Simon Gillespie, chief executive at the British Heart Foundation, said the scheme will make it easier for shoppers to make more informed choices about what's going in their trolley.

The consistent front of pack label will be a new Responsibility Deal pledge that food and drink companies can sign up to and deliver.  

Businesses that have signed up to using the new label today already account for more than 60 per cent of the food that is sold in the UK.