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Caterers could be forced to adopt food signposting

01 December 2004

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) last week declined to exempt the catering industry from its new "traffic light" system aimed at highlighting healthy food to consumers.

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Symbols such as the one above show the amount of potentially harmful ingredients in a given food (above) against the guideline daily allowance of those ingredients (below) The simpler "traffic light" approach
An FSA spokeswoman said: "The system could apply to catering. It would be complicated to implement, but nothing's been decided yet." Any decision to apply the system to catering businesses would be taken after consumer trials are completed next summer, and in conjunction with stakeholders, according to the FSA. One stakeholder which would not welcome an extension of signposting to the catering industry is the British Hospitality Association. Deputy chief executive Martin Couchman said any such system would have to be "over-simplistic" and would be "irrelevant" to the industry. He also stressed the risk that consumers eating only "green light" foods would not have a very balanced diet.
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Research by the FSA suggests that consumers favour some sort of signposting system on food. Variants being trialled include traffic lights for tracking fat, salt, sugar and saturates, either separately or as a single rating, and more detailed labels comparing content with recommended daily intake. *Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 2 December 2004*
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