Scottish campaign to cut food poisoning and waste

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

The #lookathelabel campaign aims to boost families' food labelling knowledge
The #lookathelabel campaign aims to boost families' food labelling knowledge

Related tags Food poisoning Nutrition

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has launched a campaign to improve consumer understanding of food labels in a bid to reduce food poisoning cases and food waste.

The #lookatthelabel campaign encourages people in Scotland to make safer, healthier and more informed choices when buying food and drink and increase understanding of the importance of ‘use by’ dates, colour-coded nutrition labelling, storage advice and allergens information.

The campaign asks consumers to take a few extra seconds to look at food labels beyond the price, FSS’s chief executive Geoff Ogle said.

Understanding food labels could help reduce cases of food poisoning, which has affected 32% of the Scottish population, Ogle claimed.

Risk to consumer health

“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,”​ he said.

Fewer than one-third of adults (28%) said they always checked the nutrition content of food, Ogle added.

Only one-fifth (22%) of Scots use product packaging for finding out information about food safety, according to FSS.

Christine Livingston from Renshaw

“A few months ago I became sick after eating a microwave meal on my lunchbreak at work. I was almost instantly unwell and couldn’t understand why. When I looked at the label I was shocked to see it was a couple of days out of date. I just forgot the length of time it was in the fridge and I didn’t think to look at the label.

“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,”​ Ogle said.

Backing of campaign

Which? welcomed the move to promote clearer food labelling information through the campaign.

"Colour-coded labelling in particular helps consumers choose healthier options at a glance,” ​its executive director Richard Lloyd said.

“We now want more manufacturers to follow the lead of supermarkets and commit to colour-coded labelling on their products.”

The one-month long campaign will include press, radio, digital, poster and trolley advertising, social media activity and public relations. It is also supported by retailers Morrisons, Asda, Scotmid, SPAR, NISA, CJ Lang and Scottish Grocers Federation.

Related topics Policy Prepared foods Sustainability

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