Heart card aims to decode labels

Shopping for healthy food for consumers is set to get easier with a new wallet-sized card to help people decipher labels on food packaging.

The free 'ready reckoner' card, launched by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) today, explains whether the levels of fat, salt and sugar in manufactured food are healthy or not.

The BHF said that while it is important to keep a check on the food types you consume, it is not always easy to read the labels on food packets accurately.

It said the Food Standard Agency's (FSA) traffic light labelling, which uses red, amber and green colours to show if a food is high, medium or low in fat, salt and sugar, has proved to be the easiest way for consumers to understand what's in the food they pick.

But with not all food manufacturers and retailers use the FSA system, with some using their own labels or the alternative Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) scheme, including Tesco and Morrisons the BHF is worried consumers are getting confused.

Its new card, which is attached to every copy of this issue's Heart Health magazine, can help shoppers translate between labels, using a simple grid to see if food has the green light for health, whatever system is used.

Nicki Cooper, head of Heart Health at the BHF, said: "Eating healthily is a vital investment in your short and long-term health - and it needn't be difficult. Pop this little card in your wallet and you'll always be able to work out if the food you want to buy is good for you. Aim to pick lots of food with green on the nutrition label, a handful of ambers and the occasional red."

The 'ready reckoner' card is attached to every copy of the current issue of Heart Health magazine, the BHF's bi-monthly publication.

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