| Zee Yusri |
FOOD labels provide consumers with information regarding ingredients and nutritional composition of the product. By law, all packaged or processed foods must indicate nutritional information. However, many consumers are not aware of the wealth of nutritional information printed on food packages and, as a result, may not be able to use that information to make informed choices.
This was highlighted in a talk, entitled ‘Read Your Food Label, Choose Wisely’, conducted by Hj Zakaria Hj Kamis, a dietitian from the Health Promotion Centre at the Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday.
Customers should look at the food label prior to their purchase to identify the ingredients in the product and become familiar with a product they are buying for the first time. They can also compare the different brands of the same product to find out whether there are any ingredients they should avoid and to determine if nutrients have been added or removed from the product, Hj Zakaria said. Understanding the food label also helps customers make informed choices on the serving size, calories, nutrients, directions of
use, date indications, food manufacturers’ information, the net weight, ‘halal’ logo and health claims, he added.
Hj Zakaria also said that manufacturers must specify the contents of nutrients in the food before making any health declarations or health claims on the food labels.
Photos above show students who attended the talk
The information available on food labels must be easy to understand for consumers to benefit. With an understanding of food labels and a little practice, anyone can learn to make more healthful food choices., he said, adding that it is important for people to understand the food labels and to compare the nutritional contents of food purchased. He urged the public to just spend some time at the supermarkets looking for healthier options.
The talk was attended by representatives of companies, non-government organisations, students and National Youth Services Programme (PKBN) members.
An exhibition on the importance of reading food labels was also held along with the talk.