Shoppers urged to look more closely at food labelling

Christine and Iain Livingston of Renfrew with their two children Orla, 7 and Mara, 4 help launch the Food Standards Scotland's #lookatthelabel campaign by showing that if you don't look at the label of food products then you don't know what you're eating.
Christine and Iain Livingston of Renfrew with their two children Orla, 7 and Mara, 4 help launch the Food Standards Scotland's #lookatthelabel campaign by showing that if you don't look at the label of food products then you don't know what you're eating.
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Food Standards Scotland (FSS) is urging shoppers to spend a little longer looking at food labelling.

Some of the country’s biggest supermarkets are supporting the #lookatthelabel campaign which encourages people to make safer, healthier and more informed choices when buying food and drink.

The initiative aims to increase understanding of the importance if ‘use by’ dates, colour-coded nutrition labelling, storage advice and allergens information.

The move comes as many consumers say then tend to fall back on the ‘sight and smell test’ rather than checking information on the food label.

Fewer than one-third of adults (28 per cent) report they always check the nutrition content of food. Only one fifth (22 per cent) of Scots use product packaging for finding out information about food safety and a third (32 per cent), having experienced food poisoning, understand they could avoid it if they check food labels.

Geoff Ogle, chief executive of Food Standards Scotland, said there is an important way consumers can reduce the risk of food poisoning.

Mr Ogle said: “Food is important to all of us and perhaps not something we think too much about when buying it so we want to highlight the potential risks to consumer health and that is why we are launching this innovative campaign, using blindfold imagery, which will hopefully inspire consumers to take a closer look at the label.

“The #lookatthelabel campaign asks consumers to take a few extra seconds to look at food labels beyond the price, and spend a bit more time looking at what the information on labels is telling you.

“From a food safety angle, we are encouraging consumers to pay attention to date labelling, content, storage and handling information. This is even more important for more vulnerable groups such as older people, children, pregnant women and people with allergies.”

He added: “How you’re going to store food isn’t something many consumers consider at point of purchase so we’re reminding people to look at the label when they’re at home putting their shopping away too.”

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: “People need to know what’s in the food they eat, so we welcome moves from Food Standards Scotland to promote clearer information through this campaign.

“Colour-coded labelling in particular helps consumers choose healthier options at a glance. We now want more manufacturers to follow the lead of supermarkets and commit to colour-coded labelling on their products.”