Amendments to food labeling laws aimed at helping Israeli consumers make more healthful choices are expected to be approved for a second and third reading by the Knesset during the current winter session. Health Minister Yael German called the new packaging laws a “revolution” and hopes the changes will help combat the growing trend of obesity, hypertension and heart disease caused by the overconsumption of calorie-laden foods and treats.
The biggest change is that important health information will feature prominently on the front of food packaging, rather on the back, where the food label now appears.
“Nutritional information–in the four categories of energy (calories), sugars, fat and sodium–will have to appear on the face of the package,” Itamar Grotto, head of public health at the Health ministry, explained. The rest of the nutritional information now found on food labels will continue to appear on the rear.
In addition, each food item will have an “identity card” including the manufacturer, ingredients, expiry date, storage recommendations and other information, Grotto explained.
While the final look of the new label has not yet been decided by the Ministry, Danny Moran, director of the Health Ministry’s Program for an Active and Healthy Life, believes that the hard-to-miss nutritional information on the front of the package will change consumer habits and help lead to a healthier Israel.
“It will influence purchasing habits, eating and behavior,” Moran said. “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.”