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Fibre labels are 'chaotic'

22nd January 2001

The Food Commission, Britain's leading independent watchdog on food, today slammed nutrition labelling laws on dietary fibre as 'chaotic'. Furthermore, new proposals from the government's Food Standards Agency will, says the Commission, 'make a bad situation worse'.

Two years ago, the government allowed a new method for measuring fibre to be used for food labels. Companies could use either the new or old method, but as these gave different results, it was impossible for consumers to compare products. The Agency now proposes to drop the old method -- one which links to Department of Health guidance on healthy eating.

The new method is liked by food companies as it makes some low-fibre foods appear to have much more fibre: e.g. Kellogg's Corn Flakes and Frosties have their apparent fibre levels tripled overnight.

'The Food Standards Agency promised to be consumer-friendly,' said Food Commission director Dr Tim Lobstein. 'But it has reverted to typical old Ministry of Agriculture behaviour by putting the food industry's interests first.'

See the Food Magazine, pages 11-13