I bought a sandwich for lunch when I was shopping recently. Cheese and onion, one of the few meat-free varieties on offer at Tesco.
Tesco is one of the retailers, along with some of the big names in the food industry, who have rejected the UK’s Food Standards Agency recommendation on food labelling. The FSA wants a simple “traffic light” system of labels, telling us, in a very quick and visual way, what is good and bad about each food item. Tesco, Morrisons, Kellogg’s, Nestlé, Kraft and others are backing the rival guideline daily amount (GDA) labelling scheme.
The GDA label just shows you the percentage of each of 5 components in a “portion” of the food, relative to a “guideline daily amount” estimated for a normal adult. The “portion” size is always ridiculously small, and there are no colours to tell you if the percentage is good or bad.
Or are they? My sandwich GDA label is coloured, in shades of red, amber and green. Oh, not traffic light colours exactly: a bit more pastel than that. What do you think that might be for? Decoration? Interesting that the sugar figure, at 4% of GDA is shaded pink, while the one for saturated fat at 61% is pale green. Over half my recommended fat intake in a single sandwich?! That’s green?
This is just reckless speculation on my part, but do you think it’s possible that the food industry and supermarkets might not have our best interests at heart?
(Some supermarkets, such as Sainsbury’s and Asda, do use the “traffic light” system. Good for them.)