A PROPOSAL for a front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labelling scheme was discussed at the 4th Consultation on NCD Prevention and Control in Suva yesterday.
A Ministry of Health booklet stated that consumer awareness about healthy living and diet is "generally low in Fiji", and attributed the rising incidence of NCDs to poor diet choices.
FOP nutrition schemes are commonly used overseas to provide a simple indicator of the healthiness of a food product.
The Ministry of Health said the FOP nutrition labelling scheme would be meaningful to all consumers, including those with low literacy.
Dr Wendy Snowdon, co-ordinator for the Pacific Research Centre for the Prevention of Obesity and Non-Communicable Diseases (C-POND), said this would allow consumers to directly compare foods based on their nutrition levels.
"The consumer won't need to go and look at all the information on the back of the label to know which product is a better choice," Dr Snowdon said.
She said in recent years, Fiji-manufactured foods had increased, and local food industrialists are interested in supporting the scheme.
"The Ministry of Health needs to be certain that the criteria used are correct, and it appropriately puts food in the right category as such."