Israel Food Labeling Reform Kicks Off Wednesday

Yerushalayim -
People shop in Osher Ad Supermarket. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A long-awaited reform in food product labeling kicks in on Wednesday. Consumers will now be able to look at a label and determine if a product is high in sugar, salt, saturated fat, and other ingredients. “Problematic” products will bear a distinctive red label, while those with levels of ingredients considered safe will bear a green sticker.

The red sticker will appear on food products that have 13.5 or more grams of sugar per one hundred grams, 500 milligrams of salt, or 5 grams of saturated fat. Liquids must contain less than 400 milligrams of salt, 5 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of saturated fat to avoid a red sticker.

Getting a green sticker will be products the Health Ministry recommends, including tofu, soy products, dairy products, vegetable oil, nuts and seeds, whole wheat products, legumes, tehina, fish, eggs, chicken, fruits, and vegetables. Packaged products will bear a sticker on its label, while products that are purchased in open bins will have a sticker affixed nearby.

Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman said that “this is an important reform that will lead to better health for Israelis, based on the understanding that citizens have a basic right to know what is in the products they purchase. I am proud of the efforts my office has put into this project, which will significantly increase the quality of life and health of us all. With the new labels, Israelis will be able to avoid overeating and obesity, and help prevent diabetes and other illnesses.”

According to Ministry figures, 13% of Israeli seventh graders were overweight in 2018, while 17.4% of children were overweight. Ten percent of children suffer from diabetes or are pre-diabetes, the majority with Type II diabetes.