The Food Standards in Scotland yesterday launched Lookatthelabel with an aim of encouraging consumers to take time in looking at food labels. A working mother of two with an allergy to peanuts gave warning to consumers to examine food labels as part of the awareness campaign.
A lot of big supermarkets in the county are supporting the Lookatthelabel campaign, which has an initiative of helping people in making informed, healthier and safer choices while buying drinks and food. The important information that is being emphasised on, includes ‘sell by’ dates, storage advice, ingredients, nutrition labelling.
35-year-old Christine Livingston, who works as a manager at the David Lloyd Leisure Club in Renfrew, felt sick and had to take time off from her work because she ate a readymade food that had already expired. This is because she forgot to look at the food labels and thought that it had been in the fridge for a little while.
According to her, she only checks labels for certain grocery beverages to watch out for her peanut allergy, but she never pays attention to sell-by dates and other nutritional information. She said that "A few months back I became ill after consuming a microwave food for lunch at work. I felt unwell instantly, but I did not understand why". She is now more cautious when buying food and spends some more time checking the labels, especially the nutritional information, sell by date and storage advice.
Mr. Lain, who is Christine’s husband, also admits that he does not pay attention to food labels before buying. He says that he normally looks at the food labels quickly while in the supermarket but after reaching home he does not take the time to look at them again. He added that there were instances when he put fresh pasta in the cupboard instead of the fridge and tins of fruits in the fridge instead of the cupboard. His wife Christine helps him in such cases by reminding to look at food labels and where they are supposed to be stored.
Currently, they are both looking out for color-coded food labelling to help them determine the nutritional content of food. Christine says that being busy is a major contributor to not checking the drinks and food labels. In the past, she was astonished to discover contents of sugar and salt in foods that she considered to be healthy like cereals and yogurt. She acknowledges the Food Standards Scotland Lookatthelabel’s campaign for making her aware of the importance of looking at the food labels for nutritional and expiry date information.
According to Food Standards Scotland, only 28% of adults look out for food nutritional content, and 22% use the product packaging to look for information on food safety.
According to Mr. Ogle, who is the FSS’s chief executive, food is essential to all of us, and that is why buying it is usually an easy task. This was the major reason they launched this campaign using blindfold imagery to inspire consumers to look at the food and drink labels.