Cornwall Life Food & Drink Columnist - Ruth Huxley on food labeling

PUBLISHED: 16:51 08 November 2012 | UPDATED: 22:18 20 February 2013

Cornwall Life Food & Drink Columnist - Ruth Huxley on food labeling

Cornwall Life Food & Drink Columnist - Ruth Huxley on food labeling

Our columnist Ruth Huxley, Managing Director of Cornwall Food and Drink, is suffering from information overload

Do you look on the labels?


Our columnist Ruth Huxley, Managing Director of Cornwall Food and Drink, is suffering from information overload

Is it just me, or do you sometimes feel that the systems intended to protect us have gone a bit bonkers? What do you really want to know about the food you eat? How much do you need to see on a label?
While the food industry grapples with the prospect of the rising global price of many of our staple ingredients due to some extraordinarily bad harvests this year, one of the factors to consider is that there are lots of hidden costs within the price we all pay for our food, which are nothing to do with the price of ingredients or the price of production itself.
Amongst these is the cost that businesses have to pay to comply with the mountain of legislation that affects them, virtually all of which is claimed to be created in the interest of the consumer, i.e. you and me. Take a look at any label and you will see it packed with information, most of which has to be there but how much of it do you read and how often is your decision to buy a certain product based on the small print?
Wouldnt cutting out all the extraneous nonsense in order to reduce costs be in our greater interest?Granted, for some things labelling is absolutely vital as anyone managing an allergy will know but is there a single person with a nut allergy, for example, who needs to be told that a pack of peanuts contains nuts or that cheese contains milk? What an insult that legislators feel we need this, or is it just a sad indictment of our own knowledge of food! If you think the labelling of packaged food has gone too far, be warned there is another development waiting in the wings that could raise your blood pressure even higher and this affects what to me should be a relaxing occasion eating out.
It seems that, in an effort to tackle obesity, heart disease and all the other terrible ills that are the result of changing lifestyles (not just changing diets), someone somewhere is suggesting that when we eat in restaurants the menu should tell us exactly how much fat and how many calories we are going to be consuming.
Seriously? Are there really people being paid by the public purse who think that would make the slightest dent in our ability to look after our bodies better? All it will do is take all the joy out of yet another treat and put even further strain on our hospitality industry that is already stretched to the limit.

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