Italy unhappy with traffic light food labels

uk-traffic-light-foodWould you buy food that was labeled with a big symbol saying “don’t eat this; it’s really unhealthy?” That’s essentially the question that Italy has raised surrounding a healthy eating initiative started by the UK.

In the United Kingdom, in an effort to fight the obesity epidemic, the government has announced plans to start using a color-coded labeling system of all food sold in their territories, including imports. All packaging for food would have to have the following nutritional information: sugar, salt, and fat content. In addition to providing a number for those categories, they would be color coded from green (good) to amber (moderately unhealthy) to red (very unhealthy). It’s the color coding that has upset some in the restaurant industry and beyond.

Paolo de Castro, head of the agricultural committee on the European Union, said that while the numbers are a good idea, the color codes attempt to influence the consumer. “The traffic-light system seeks to influence people’s choices,” he said. Basically, he argues that anything labeled red is being discouraged. This has many concerned that sales of anything that would get a red color would suffer. As a result, the Italian government has petitioned the European Union, attempting to block the practice. Italy is worried that a lot of its exports, including cheeses, would get coded red and would see a drop in sales.

We at One Fat Frog are wondering what you think: If you saw some food that you wanted to buy, but it had a big warning label telling you it’s really unhealthy, would you still buy it? We don’t know about Europe, but here in America KFC had great sales with the Double Down. We also have a restaurant called the Heart Attack Grill. So maybe it wouldn’t hurt sales at all. What do you think?


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