MP calls for warning labels on highly processed foods 

Mikko Kärnä (Centre) says consumers should know whether the products they're buying are healthy or unhealthy.

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File picture of food items on supermarket shelves / Credit: News Now Finland

A Centre Party politician is calling for warning labels on highly processed foods similar to the warnings on packets of cigarettes.

Enontekiö MP Mikko Kärnä say products like ice cream, ready meals, cookies, pies and pastries should carry labels

“Studies clearly show that ultra-processed food increases the risk of premature death. Processed food causes people to eat more calories than they need and causes many problems like obesity. In addition, they increase the risk of heart disease and cancer” says Kärnä, who is a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Forestry.

Kärnä notes that ultra-processed foods are often high in sugar, salt, oil and fats, with artificial flavours, dyes, sweeteners and emulsifiers.

“In order to raise consumer awareness, it is appropriate that the health hazards of these foods are clearly warned on their packaging.”

In the last few years there’s been a huge increase in the number of non-meat and plant-based products on the market and Kärnä says he wants some of these “meat-imitating vegetable products” to carry health warnings about their contents as well.

“Such products often contain unethically-sourced and unhealthy coconut fat, have high salt content, various stabilizers and glucose syrup […] such food is proven to be harmful to health and there is an absolute need to inform the consumer” he says.