Labour MEPs welcome government's "green light" - 2012-10-24
"I'm delighted the British government has gone against their own Tory MEPs and decided today to recommend the 'traffic light' system for food labelling to retailers and manufacturers in theUK," said Glenis Willmott MEP, Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party and health spokesperson for Labour MEPs.
"With obesity rates higher in Britain than anywhere else in Europe, we've got to make sure that consumers have clear and honest nutritional labelling which enables them to make healthier choices when they do their shopping," she said.
"Colour coding the information makes it easier for consumers to assess and compare products at a glance, and many supermarkets have been successfully using the system for years.
"It's just a shame that the Tory MEPs weren't so constructive when food labelling laws were being discussed in the European Parliament. I put forward proposals for traffic light labelling to be used on all processed foods, but these were vociferously opposed by Tory MEPs.
"My proposals were eventually defeated so now we're in the situation where theUKgovernment can't force manufacturers to use traffic lights without changing EU legislation.
"While the British government has successfully got supermarkets on board, so far they haven't made any headway with food manufacturers, who are still very reluctant to adopt the scheme.
"I will continue to push for red, amber and green "traffic lights" on all processed foods sold in the EU. Some of the big multi-national food companies will only change their ways when we say to them that in order to sell their food in the world's biggest trading bloc, they have to be honest about what is in it," Glenis Willmott concluded.
Notes to Editor:
1. Glenis Willmott led (as 'shadow rapporteur') on the Food Information to Consumers Regulation for the Socialist and Democrats group in the European Parliament.
2. The Regulation was officially agreed in October 2011 and will be gradually coming into force over the next few years.
3. Although Glenis Willmott was unsuccessful in getting mandatory traffic light labelling for all processed foods agreed by the European Parliament, the European Commission made a commitment to revisiting the idea in the near future.