Time For Mandatory Introduction Of “Traffic Light” Calorie Labels

Senator Catherine Noone has today called on the Government to consider making it mandatory to have food and drinks manufacturers display “traffic light” calorie labels. Her comments come after it was revealed that a major soft drinks manufacturer will be tailoring their products to include the “green, amber, red” system on all of their Irish beverages later this year.

Speaking on the matter, Senator Noone said: “I commend this company for their forward thinking. 40% of the beverages they sell are actually already Diet offerings, which clearly shows that the market – once armed with the correct information – will choose healthier offerings. However, as legislators, it is our role to make sure that a framework exists that brings this information front and centre”.

Senator Noone added: “The fact of the matter is, internal research from this company has revealed that 60% of people didn’t know that their own diet offerings – which are heavily advertised – contained zero sugar or zero calories. It’s clear that more needs to be done in the context of labelling, and I commend this company for taking that decisive action. However, more needs to be done. We’re certainly moving in the right direction, but I believe the introduction of traffic light labelling would be very helpful indeed

Senator Noone concluded: “It would be a helpful visual illustration at a glance as most of us know the feeling of looking at a product and trying to make the relevant calculations, as all products tend to display it differently: some display calories by portion size, some by the entire contents of the product, and other still might display the information per 100g. It’s clear that rigid standards are needed here, and I feel these could be brought in as part of a so-called “traffic light” code of food labelling”.

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