New campaign calls for clearer food warning labels to empower South Africans to make healthy food choices

The unhealthy packaged food you buy your family may be high in sugar, salt and saturated fat – all of which have been directly linked to life-threatening conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. However, one of the reasons that many people are unable to make healthier food choices is because the labels on packaged food products are unclear and confusing. It’s therefore important for people to know what’s hidden in their food so they can make more informed food choices, which is why advocacy group, Healthy Living Alliance (HEALA), is rolling out a media campaign in September, calling for bold front-of-package labels (FoPLs).

Nzama Mbalati, HEALA’s Programme’s Manager, says: “New research shows that warning labels on unhealthy packaged food would be a feasible and equitable policy to help South Africans identify and reduce purchasing of unhealthy food.” 1

“While new draft legislation on packaging is waiting in the wings, there have been protracted delays, so HEALA is urging consumers and community organisations, traditional leaders and NGOs to call for change. It is time to empower shoppers with the information they need to make the right decisions and protect their families’ health,” says Mbalati.

Mbalati continues: “At the moment, one needs to be as informed as a dietician to know what the information at the back of a packet of food means. To empower consumers, we need front-of-package labels to help them identify what the industry is selling to them.”

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