“I have been a long standing supporter of the traffic light scheme. Consumers like it, and it gives them the information they need to make quick, informed decisions about the food they buy for themselves and their families. If we’re serious about tackling obesity and related diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes, then we need to be transparent about what is in our food,” said Mrs Willmott.
“When I was involved in negotiating EU legislation on food labelling we made it clear that individual countries would be free to implement voluntary labelling schemes, which is exactly what is happening in the UK. Whilst a lot of retailers and some producers have signed up, nobody is forced to. Similar schemes exist in other EU Member States, such as the keyhole scheme used in Nordic countries.”
However some EU countries, led by Italy, have objected to the scheme, saying that it will affect the internal market.
“I’m disappointed that other EU countries are raising objections to the UK’s traffic light scheme, but not surprised. Food is sold on the EU’s internal market, and the easiest and most effective way to implement the traffic light scheme would be through EU legislation. Sadly my proposals for this were blocked after heavy lobbying from the food industry, but I think it is still something we could achieve in the future.”