Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
You are here: Home topics Consumer Food labelling: another missed opportunity for healthier choices

Food labelling: another missed opportunity for healthier choices

17 March 2010
by eub2 -- last modified 17 March 2010

European consumers and public health in general were dealt a severe blow today when MEPs voted not to proceed with establishing a European wide colour coding system for food labelling.


European consumer groups, based on extensive research, had sought to amend the European Commission's proposals on Food & Indication of Ingredients in Foodstuffs, to establish as mandatory a system whereby 4 key nutrients (fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt) would be colour coded on the front of pack according to their levels, and on the back of pack a more comprehensive label where 8 nutrients would be listed, according to their levels. MEPs did at least vote to include mandatory country of origin labelling.

Monique Goyens, Director General of BEUC, the European Consumers' Organisation, commented:
"Research from across Europe has told us that consumers find colour coding the easiest and simplest way to make informed and healthy choices. When we clearly have an obesity epidemic spreading across Europe, and when consumers clearly want to make healthier choices about their diet, we really should give them the tools that work best and which they want.
"Today's vote in the European Parliament is hugely disappointing. MEPs have missed the opportunity to make healthy food more accessible. We fear that the fight against childhood obesity, in particular, has taken a serious blow today. Parents more than anyone are the people who don't have the time to check detailed and complex information currently found on many food products. All we ask is that we have a clear, transparent system in place where all shoppers can make at a glance comparisons between various foods."

BEUC, the European Consumers' Organisation has a membership of 43 well respected, independent national consumer organisations from 31 European countries (EU, EEA and applicant countries). BEUC acts as the umbrella group in Brussels for these organisations and our main task is to represent our members and defend the interests of all Europe's consumers.

BEUC, the European Consumers’ Organisation