UK: FSA calls for tougher EU regulations on food labelling
Following nine months of consultation and consumer research, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has decided to press for the compulsory, legally binding listing of all allergenic and genetically modified ingredients on all food items sold within the EU.The tough labelling is designed to prevent misleading claims - like "low fat" or "fat free" - and should even be extended to include alcoholic drinks, claims the FSA. The agency says that too many labels are confusing for consumers, and should be made easier to understand.One particular problem area was felt to be children's foods, which are often heavily promoted despite containing damaging excesses of sugar, salt and fat.One third of consumers surveyed by the agency also said they wanted to know if products contained GM ingredients. This has led to an insistence that the EU dictate a clearer regulation on GM-free labelling, and insist that meat labels should say whether animals have been reared on GM feed.Several UK retailers have already taken steps to make labelling clearer, and supermarket giant Tesco has announced that it is working in the same direction as the agency.
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