Food / Foreign relations

Italy’s anger at UK traffic light label for food

After much pressure by Italy, the European Commission started an infringement procedure against the United Kingdom for the “traffic light” labeling system introduced in Great Britain for food products.

The system, sponsored by the British National Health Service, should reveal to the consumer whether a product is healthy or not, but according to the Italian Government and Italian producers it simply doesn’t work, attributing a “yellow” or “red” rating to perfectly healthy foods while Coke, for instance, gets a green light.

Italian Minister of Agriculture Maurizio Martina stated that the traffic light system is the “absolute opposite to a sound judgement”. Mr Filippo Ferrua Magliani, the President of the Italy Food Industry Association, said with less diplomacy that the system “is hiding commercial aims masked as health concerns”. Even the Italian consumers’ associations, usually critical at the initiatives by the industrial sector, supported the battle against the British “traffic light”.

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