Call for ban on misleading food labels

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The Local Government Association (LGA) has called for a ban on ‘misleading’ marketing of foods which contain high levels of salt, sugar and fat.

Council leaders have issued a warning that shoppers who are attempting to purchase healthy foods are unknowingly buying foods with high levels of salt, fat and sugar. The LGA is urging the European Commission to prohibit ‘misleading’ marketing of these foodstuffs.

Council leaders are asking European official to strengthen the rules which govern nutrition and health information on health products. They stipulated that there should be a predetermined level of the maximum amount of salt, fat, sugar and other nutrients that products should indicate if it makes health and nutrition claims.

Under current EUR rules food manufacturers are able to make claims about their products which are accurate, substantiated and clear. However, the claims can be made irrespective of the overall quality of nutrition. An example of this is that a food company can label their product as ‘low fat’, but it could have a high salt and sugar content.

The Chairwoman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, Katie Hall, said that they are concerned about shoppers who are trying to buy healthy food, but are not being provided with a full disclosure. This implies that they are unknowingly purchasing unhealthy foods.

She said that the group is calling on the European Commission to deliver on its promise to introduce nutrient profiling which is validated scientifically and will provide consumers with an accurate picture of their purchases. They are also asking the British Government to place pressure on the Commission.

She added that manufacturers generally appeal to specific health-conscious consumer markets. Food products which are promoted as being low fat, but contain hidden sugars, are one of the main causes of dental disease.

Ms Hall stated that obesity is one of the largest public health crises being faced by the country and it is vital that consumers know exactly what foodstuffs they are buying. This will allow consumers to make informed choices about their purchases.

Image Credit: Health Gauge

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