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The multimillion pound (dollar, euro) plan has been backed by some industry giants. Products manufactured by Kellogg's, Danone, Kraft, Nestle and PepsiCo for sale in Britain will display the percentages of guideline daily amounts (GDA) of sugar, salt, fat and calories in each serving.

It's an alternative plan to one launched in March by the British government's Food Standards Agency. That optional system adopted the colors red, yellow and green - like traffic lights - to display the content of fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar in foods from high (red) to low (green).

The 21 firms and retailers using the new system said people would not purchase products with the red labels on them, and came up with the alternative plan.

Jane Holdsworth, who represents the organizations backing the GDA plans, rejected criticism of it, saying it would help people develop healthier lifestyles.

"It has been suggested that industry is at odds with the FSAs own ... scheme. However, there is a large measure of agreement between us," she said.

The Food Standards Agency said its own research showed consumers found it easier to deal with the traffic light system.

"Some consumers do like the extra information that GDAs provide," the agency said. "However, without a traffic light color code our research showed that shoppers can't always interpret the information quickly and often find percentages difficult to understand and use."

Research by food pressure group Sustain showed the GDA system was flawed, said Richard Watts, co-ordinator of its Children's Food Campaign.

"The food industry will be aware that their new labels will be useless to almost half of adults and most children, who simply lack the complex mathematical skills to interpret them," said Watts.


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