New Food Labeling Rules Ready for Knesset Discussion

YERUSHALAYIM -
Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

After over a year of work, a state-appointed committee on food labeling has completed its work, and will make its final recommendations on food labeling to the Knesset Health and Knesset Economic Committees in the coming days. “We have informed Knesset members that we are ready with the plan, and we hope to implement it next March,” Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman said in a statement. “This is a new and dramatic advance in the national effort to provide proper labeling for food. It is within our hands to provide information on proper nutrition to inform Israelis on the best ways to improve their eating habits, especially for their children.”

One of the ideas proposed would implement color-coding for packaged foods. The recommendations entail including a healthy or unhealthy symbol for products, with each graded based on the number of calories, the level of fat, and the amount of added sugar in products, according to Yediot Acharonot. According to the recommendations, foods that include any of the following – 300 or more calories per 100-gram (3-ounce) serving, 500 mg of sodium and/or 15 grams of sugar per 100 grams, or 5 grams of saturated fat per 100-gram serving – would get a “red” mark, meaning that consumers should avoid and/or significantly limit their intake. Foods that fit in with recommendations of the Health Ministry, such as having no added sugar, would get a “green” mark.

Moshe Bar-Simantov, director-general of the Health Ministry, said that “with the approval of our labeling rules, the Israeli public will be able to very easily choose the healthiest options. I am sure that the Knesset committees will approve the rules and allow us to complete our work as soon as possible.”