Food Industry Group Rejects Otago Study Claims

Press Release – Food Industry Group

“Simplicity is desirable but traffic light labelling is anything but.” So says Lindsay Mouat, Deputy Chairman of the Food Industry Group (FIG), in reply to a Otago University study being used to promote a front-of-pack ‘traffic light systems’ …FIG Rejects Otago Study Claims

“Simplicity is desirable but traffic light labelling is anything but.” So says Lindsay Mouat, Deputy Chairman of the Food Industry Group (FIG), in reply to a Otago University study being used to promote a front-of-pack ‘traffic light systems’ for salt content.

“Such a move is only likely to increase costs without any significant health benefits,” he said. “Before academics pressure policy makers to impose additional costs on food manufacturers, and thereby the consumer, we need to be sure that it will achieve the required outcomes.”

The Food Industry Groups believes the existing nutrition information panel is the most comprehensive and informative way to ensure a product is suitable for personal health needs.

Mr Mouat says education is the ideal solution: “When consumers want to know more about what they eat and have learnt what percentages are relevant to them, then it takes a mere one or two seconds to check a package out.”

“There’s been a great deal of investigation into traffic light labelling. The system only creates more confusion and isn’t suitable for all packaged products. It certainly doesn’t cater to varying health needs or take into account someone’s total diet and exercise habits.

“There are so many health-related components in food. By highlighting only the salt content, you are almost suggesting the other ingredients are unimportant.

“And unfortunately, problems don’t go away when the traffic light system is expanded. Confusion can reign when soft drinks have green lights for fat content while yoghurt and milk might have orange or red lights.

“Anecdotal evidence from Canada suggests there is so much information required once you start front-of-pack labelling, that the average consumer just loses interest. The extra space required on the packaging becomes a significant problem, particularly on smaller products.”

ENDS

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