Food labeling requirements bill in Knesset expected by ministry to ‘revolutionize’ nutrition habits

Health Minister Yael German says the Knesset’s winter session will bring about a “revolution” in consumerism.

October 15, 2013 17:20
1 minute read.
The dairy aisle in a Jerusalem supermarket

The dairy aisle in a Jerusalem supermarket 370 . (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Health Minister Yael German says the Knesset’s winter session will bring about a “revolution” in consumerism with requirements for listing on ingredients of food products on the front of packages.

The plenum is due to soon approve amendments to 20- year-old laws on food products for their second and third (final) readings.

“We are speaking of very important legislation aimed at helping consumers choose more healthful food products,” Prof. Itamar Grotto, head of public health at the ministry, said on Tuesday. Nutritional information – in the four categories of energy (calories), sugars, fat and sodium – will have to appear on the face of the package, while the “usual list of ingredients” will continue to appear on the back, he said.

The ministry hopes that food shoppers will, with this information displayed more prominently, choose more wisely and the amount of overweight, hypertension and heart disease will decline.

With the additional information, packaged food will have an “identity card” including the name, manufacturer, ingredients, nutritional data, expiry date, storage recommendations and more, Grotto said.

Prof. Danny Moran, director of the ministry’s national Program for an Active and Healthy Life (dubbed in Hebrew “Efsharibari” or “Healthy is Possible”), added that Israel is thus following in the footsteps of other Western countries in improving labeling and packaging of food products. “It will influence purchasing habits, eating and behavior. We hope the Knesset will approve the amendments as soon as possible during the winter session that will bring about a revolution that will help all of us preserve our health more effectively,” he said.

The ministry has been working on designing the labels.

German has instructed her staff to contact food manufacturers and explain the prospective regulations.

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