Have your say on labels
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland is holding a national food labelling public consultation and wants consumers and “interested parties” (that’d be manufacturers, then) to have their say. Most informed consumer groups favour a traffic light system, which see food high in calories, salt, sugar and fat stamped with a red light while more wholesome option would have a green light. Manufacturers horrified by the thought of having to put a big red danger symbol on their packaging disagree and say a gentler Guideline Daily Allowance system is better. To bolster their argument they point to cheese which is high in fat but is actually good for people in moderation.
Whatever the EU eventually goes for will be an improvement in this country. Food labelling in Ireland is absolutely woeful and there is an urgent need to radically overhaul the system so that it is of some value to consumers. The labelling system as it stands in Ireland is neither mandatory nor clear cut. For a start, working out how much salt you’re eating is almost completely impossible and is made even more difficult by manufacturers listing the sodium rather than the salt content in their products. To calculate how much salt that equals, consumers have to multiply the sodium level by 2.5 and then multiply or divide that number by the number of grams they have consumed. Hardly advanced maths, granted, but still an equation which is unlikely to be done by many time-pressed, mathematically challenged shoppers.