EU backs GDA food label schemeWhich? slams 'incredibly disappointing' decision

31 January 2008

Which? has slammed the European Commission over plans to back a food labelling scheme that we've proven is flawed.

The commission wants to make it mandatory for guideline daily amount (GDA) labels to appear on the front of packs, showing levels of salt, fat and sugar. The idea is to help shoppers spot healthy products quickly and easily.

The GDA system has already been backed by big names such as Tesco, Morrisons, Kellogg's, Nestle and Kraft, but the issue has split the industry.

The government’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) says that traffic light labels, such as the one shown on the right, are the best way to help consumers make healthy choices. 

Traffic light labels

Extensive consumer research by both Which? and the FSA has shown that traffic light labelling is the simplest way to interpret a product’s nutritional value.

Major stores such as Asda, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, and Marks & Spencer, as well as producers including  McCain and New Covent Garden Food agree.

Reacting to the EU plan, unveiled yesterday, Which? Chief Policy Adviser Sue Davies said: ‘These recommendations are incredibly disappointing for consumers across Europe and are not evidence based. Independent research shows that traffic lights are the best way to help busy shoppers identify healthy choices quickly and easily.

‘These proposals have ignored what works best for consumers and opted for what works best for some sections of the food industry.’

Shopping card

If you're faced with products that don't feature traffic light labels, our free, handy shopping card can help.

Launched last year, the card shows fat, sugar and salt levels at a glance, allowing shoppers to make the healthiest choice without confusion.