£4m challenge to traffic lights

Retailers and manufacturers have launched a £4m campaign to challenge the government's traffic light labelling system.

A £4m campaign has been launched to promote nutritional labels - a direct challenge to the government approved traffic light system.

Leading retailers and food manufacturers are backing the scheme to support labels showing percentages of guideline daily amounts (GDA) of sugar, salt, fat and calories in each serving.

The move flies in the face of efforts to introduce traffic light labelling, approved by the Food Standards Agency, to highlight good food as green and bad as red.

More than 21 companies have signed up to the campaign, pointing out that the traffic light system is flawed as consumers will not buy products with red labels, while the GDA system is easier to use.

The campaign, which involves Tesco, Somerfield and Morrisons, gets underway from Monday with television and print adverts.

GDA campaign director Jane Holdsworth said: "We have made it simple to compare what's inside thousands of everyday foods so you can choose what best suits your diet."

Tesco said more than 5,000 of its products already carried GDA labelling, and this would be extended to every own-label food item over the next few months.

However, supporters of the FSA's traffic light system, including Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, argue the GDA system is more complicated, and relies heavily on people needing to understand percentages when many adults do not.

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