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Australia Puts Brakes on 'Traffic Light' Food Labeling

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Australia Puts Brakes on 'Traffic Light' Food Labeling

Governments and organizations worldwide have been taking a long, hard look at how manufacturers communicate nutritional value via food labels.

Choice, a consumer advocacy group in Australia, is calling for the country's national government to adopt a "traffic light system" as part of its packaging label requirements, Food magazine reports.

The traffic light system uses three colors — red, yellow and green — to represent high, medium and low amounts of ingredients, respectively. However, the system has many critics, including the Australian Food and Grocery Council and the European Parliament, both of which said traffic light labels were too simple to actually work.

"Traffic light labels categorize foods as good and bad — but all foods can form part of a balanced diet," AFGC chief executive Kate Carnell tells the source. "Industry rejects traffic light labeling on the basis that it's badly understood by consumers and the system has been rejected by countries around the world including in Europe."

The call for traffic light labels was renewed after a study by Choice found that the health food muesli doesn't always live up to its reputation and, in fact, can be full of fats and sugars, the website Food&Drink Europe writes.