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Make traffic light labelling mandatory, says LGA

Traffic light labelling clearly showing nutritional content on the front of food and drink should be made a legal requirement, urge councils.

The Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils, says the Government should make a single, standard, universal labelling system mandatory.

In 2013 the Department for Health introduced a voluntary traffic light scheme, which is currently displayed on two thirds of products sold in the UK.

Councils, which have responsibility for public health, say steps should be taken to ensure the traffic light system becomes UK law.

It would give consumers at-a-glance information that enables them to make healthy choices.

Shoppers on average take 15 seconds to choose an item in a supermarket.

The Government's recently announced childhood obesity plan said it would look at how information should be displayed on products.

Better labelling would help people to take more responsibility for their health, and tackle conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Chairman of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said:

"Councils have long called for better labelling of food and drink to help consumers make more informed and healthier choices.

"While many retailers and manufacturers have different methods of displaying nutritional content, this can be confusing. Consumers need a single, standard and consistent system which should be universally adopted. It needs to be something that they can read and understand quickly and easily.

"The UK is leading the way with its traffic light scheme, which is already widely used, and provides clear, at-a-glance information. It is something many shoppers are familiar with and find helpful.

"But we want the Government to go one step further and make it mandatory for all retailers and manufacturers to adopt."

Notes to editors

  • Traffic light food labelling:

www.fph.org.uk/uploads/ps_food_labelling.pdf

  • Childhood obesity – a plan for action:

 www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/546588/Childhood_obesity_2016__2__acc.pdf

  • It takes on average 15 seconds for a consumer to decide on a supermarket purchase:

www.nielsen.com/apac/en/insights/news/2014/re-imagining-front-of-store-design.html

  • In England, two-thirds of adults:

www.noo.org.uk/NOO_about_obesity/adult_obesity/UK_prevalence_and_trends

  • More than one fifth of four to five-year-old children and more than a third of 10 to 11 year olds are obese or overweight:

www.local.gov.uk/documents/10180/7632544/L16-30+Healthy+weight%2C%20healthy+futures+-+Local+government+action+to+tackle+childhood+obesity/3ba25a33-ef53-4306-a984-73d42e8df67e .

  • Latest Public Health England data reveals 3.8 million people have diabetes, 90 per cent of which are type 2. 

www.gov.uk/government/news/38-million-people-in-england-now-have-diabetes

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