Press releases

Red light for colour coding system will not halt fight for better labelling

Charles Milne of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Scotland has offered a stout repost to the MEPs' rejection of the colour coding system. Speaking at the Trading Standards Institute annual conference held in Edinburgh this week, he said: "The evidence is that people would prefer the traffic light system".

He was speaking in a debate called 'Eating our way to an early death', and added that in changing people's habits: "the carrot was better than the stick".

Obesity has doubled in the UK since the 80s. Currently a quarter of the UK population is already obese.  Some 57 per cent of women, 66 per cent of men and 17 per cent of children are obese or overweight.  Obese children are four times more likely than other children to become obese adults and obese women are four times more likely to have diabetes or high blood pressure.

Andy Foster of the Trading Standards Institute, who chaired the meeting with guest speakers Ross Kerr of the Scottish Grocers Federation, Dr Ailsa Welch of University of East Anglia and Wendy Martin of LACORS (Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services), said: "Whilst the food industry will be celebrating tonight, there will be no celebrations amongst the trading standards community. TSI were totally supportive of a simple traffic light style indication on front of packs so consumers can make a very quick informed decision about what they consume but commercial pressures will mean that not all manufacturers will adopt the same labelling system which will be confusing for consumers.
"We need to know what's in our food, sensible labelling equals sensible consumer choices which will lead to better outcomes for communities.  We are not in the practice of placing unnecessary burdens on businesses but just by reducing the amount of salt we consume we are saving more than 6000 lives a year, the traffic light system would have helped enormously with that but, whilst progress has undoubtedly taken a step back today, trading standards will continue to fight for better labelling for UK consumers"

Notes for Editors:

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Irja Howie at TSI press office on 08456089430 or

17 June 2010

Trading Standards Institute (TSI)

TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally.  We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.
TSI's members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses.  We are also supporting the delivery of initiatives such as the advice services Consumer Direct, UK ECC and UK ECCS.