A move by the European Parliament to ban claims like ‘no added salt’ has been criticised by the food industry.

The Food & Drink Federation (FDF) has labelled the decision a “blow for consumers and industry alike” and said it would harm producers that want to reformulate products.

Barbara Gallani, director of food safety and science at the FDF, said European Parliament has underestimated the consumers’ actual ability to read food labels and their desire to make informed decisions.

The European Commission had wanted to allow food manufacturers to be able to use claims like ‘X% less’ or ‘no added salt’.

Gallani said: “The European Parliament has failed to acknowledge the enormous efforts and investment that the food and drink manufacturing industry has been putting into product reformulation. The parliament has also shown a complete lack of understanding of the technical and consumer acceptance challenges that make changing recipes to reduce energy, fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt so difficult.”

And she added: “Product reformulation is an important part of industry’s efforts to improve consumer health, with data indicating that two-thirds of dietary changes are typically driven from reformulation rather than consumers switching products.

“Taking away this incentive to undertake a step-wise approach to the time- and cost-intensive reformulation process will have negative repercussions on progress in this area. However, in spite of today’s hurdle, the food and drink industry remains committed to improving public health through reformulation, among other activity.”