Statement: World Cancer Research Fund response to EU food labelling story

3 October 2014

World Cancer Research Fund UK has defended the UK’s ‘traffic light’ food labelling system after the EU confirmed it had requested the UK government respond to criticisms from food companies.

World Cancer Research Fund UK was instrumental in lobbying for a food labelling system to help consumers understand the nutritional content of food products.

In the UK, where obesity linked to poor diet is an important public health issue, the traffic light system means consumers can make informed choices about the food they eat.

World Cancer Research Fund UK believes that the simple red, amber and green guide helps consumers make informed food and drink choices and so reduce their cancer risk.

A consistent front-of-pack labelling system was something WCRF UK sought as part of the wider fight against rising rates of obesity.

World Cancer Research Fund UK welcomed its introduction and believes it is crucial that this clear, effective guide should remain.

Currently, just under two thirds of the UK’s adult population are either overweight or obese, and about a third of the UK’s child population is overweight or obese. These figures show the importance of allowing consumers to make informed lifestyle choices.

The traffic light system is voluntary for companies to implement and thus legally compliant with EU food law. BEUC, the European Consumers' Organisation, has called for it to be extended throughout the EU.