CPC ADVOCATES USE OF CONSUMER-FRIENDLY LABELING FOR FOOD PRODUCTS
Created: Wednesday, 09 July 2014 20:22
As the world continues with the celebration of World Consumer Rights Day, the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has begun an advocacy for the adoption of a consumer-friendly labeling for beverages and food products in the country. The Director General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, who gave this indication on Wednesday while addressing a press conference as part of the Council’s activities for the commemoration of 2015 World Consumer Rights Day, disclosed that the Council is clamouring for a change in the current detailed nutritional information put at the back of these products, which, she said, is not comprehensible to consumers. Mrs. Atoki said her organization “is advocating that manufacturers adopt the consumer friendly ‘traffic light’ nutritional labeling as it is very simple for consumer to read and understand at first glance”, noting with regret that “most consumers lack the skill or time to interpret detailed nutritional information on the back of the package”. On if the Council would enforce the recommended labeling policy, she asserted: “Let me say that what we are putting out here today is as a first step in encouraging manufacturers to change their labeling until it becomes a standard, backed by law. This is what the international community is coming out to say, we encourage all international communities, who have consumer protection agencies to begin to advocate.” She pointed out that the theme for 2015 commemoration is “Consumers’ Right to Healthy Food” and that the sensitization is harping on the need for consumers to be conscious of their fat, sugar and salt intake, just as it is also focusing on schools because of children’s penchant for junk food. According to her, the Council is using the opportunity of the commemoration to sensitize Nigerian consumers to make informed decision on what they purchase and consume and the need for them to check the labeling of these products, as well as for the manufacturers to adopt best practices in line with the Council’s mandate. The Director General asserted that the sensitization would also raise consumers’ awareness on the dangers of unhealthy diets, adding that diet related diseases such as cancer; cardiovascular disease and diabetes are on the increase in most countries resulting in more than eight million premature deaths. She disclosed further that poor diet has now become the number one global risk factor for death, noting further that “the essence of this campaign is to encourage consumers to buy wisely. “Information is power. The mission for this year’s message is to educate and sensitize Consumers by providing salient information on food to help them make informed choices at the point of purchase towards healthy living. Consumers are therefore urged to use information available to them and in exercising their right to choice; buy wisely to live healthily”, she added.