Hybrid labelling is beginning to resemble a rather nasty multi-vehicle pile-up at a busy junction.

Only last month, the Department of Health was confidently informing citizens that the hybrid label - then marketed as a fuzzy, feelgood compromise between traffic lights and Guideline Daily Amounts - would be plastered over supermarket food by summer 2013.

Now we learn that the DH has commissioned further research to test the effectiveness (yes, effectiveness) of rival schemes, research that won’t be completed before summer 2014, at best.

Obviously, it isn’t just the BBC that wastes public money on report writing while the bosses are asleep at the wheel. The DH person responsible for the decision to plough on with the hybrid scheme, before the results of this research were available, really ought to be explaining his or her actions to John Humphrys now.

” Shoppers won’t pay one blind bit of attention to such a tortuous combo”

Frankly, the hybrid scheme is a doomed attempt to combine the kindergarten simplicity of traffic lights with the befuddling complication of GDAs. Shoppers won’t pay one blind bit of attention to such a tortuous combo, because on multi-ingredient processed foods they will be well nigh incomprehensible.

How, exactly, are we meant to form an impression of the overall nutritional profile of a product when the pack is flashing up confusingly contradictory reds, greens, ambers, further complicated by percentages and RDAs? Most people don’t even know how to interpret the nutrition labels that we already have.

What a monumental waste of time the never-ending food labelling debate is. We could axe it finally if the FSA and DH would only dispense this simple advice: base your diet on real food you cook yourself and eat as little processed food as possible. That’s easy to understand, isn’t it?

It’s blatantly obvious that people who eat mainly processed products are much more likely to become fat and ill than those who build their diets on home-made, natural foods. Failure to say so is an abdication of responsibility on the part of our public health advisers.

No wonder Britain keeps getting fatter and sicker when we won’t tell the truth about processed food.