Further to my recent post on food labeling, I decided to have a quick look at a couple of labels on products in Tescos this morning (yes, I know it’s deeply sad).
One was a container of pâté which the label said contained 33% of the guideline daily amount (GDA) for saturates, and 24% of the GDA for fat. Except that was per 50g, rather than the 170g in the packet. It was a similar story on some of the packets of meat. One of them actually described the GDAs as referring to a ‘serving’ of 50g rather than the total contents of the packet.
There’s a reasonable point struggling to get out here – obviously most of us aren’t going to scoff an entire tub of pâté in one go. However how do you decide what proportion of the total contents amounts to a reasonable ‘serving’ to be represented as a percentage of the GDA? And does that actually help you understand whether the product itself is unhealthy? And are you sad enough to check the label that closely in any case?
Finally I picked up a bottle of soft drink where the GDA percentages referred to half the amount in the bottle itself. Presumably this is based on the assumption that people only drink half of what they buy and tip the rest away, so it’s a totally reasonable and honest way to label the product.