The European Parliament will next week meet to consider proposals to restrict health and nutritional claims made on food.

The proposals, which have been substantially amended in recent months, were originally drafted to restrict misleading claims and stop suppliers from making positive health claims about specific ingredients in a product if the product overall were deemed unhealthy.

The Food and Drink Federation has been putting pressure on the parliament to adapt the proposals so that claims are based on scientific fact and foods are not categorised as “good” and “bad”. A spokesman said: “This type of nutrition profiling would not consider the role of individual foods in a balanced diet and prevents suppliers form being able to communicate a product’s benefit to consumers.”

Under the legislation, which should be finalised by the summer, terms including ‘fat-free’, ‘no added sugar’, ‘light’ or ‘high protein’ could be regulated.

Manufacturers would have to use permitted claims and follow approval procedures, rather than adhering to the UK’s current voluntary system.

The Times today noted that the legislation would focus on adverts aimed at children, in particular those that use cartoon characters to appeal to children, such as Frosties’ Tony the Tiger, Sugar Puff’s Honey Monster and McDonald’s Ronald McDonald.