Scottish Charities Demand Retailers Provide Braille Labelling on Food Products
On World Braille Day, 04 January 2023, Sight Scotland, Oban and District Access Panel, and Disability Equality Scotland, launched a campaign demanding that new requirements are placed on retailers to provide braille labelling on food products.
Currently, braille labelling is only required for medicines, meaning braille users are not able to identify the food products they wish to purchase and use. The charities are calling for a statutory duty to be placed on businesses and retailers to provide braille labels on food products detailing the name of the item and the use by/sell by dates.
A petition has been published by the Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee at the Scottish Parliament and will now be sent to the Scottish Government for a response.
Craig Spalding, Chief Executive, Sight Scotland and Sight Scotland Veterans, explains: “We are today, on World Braille Day, launching a campaign calling on the Scottish Government to introduce new legislation which would force all retailers to provide braille labelling on food products.
“It is simply unfair that braille users cannot currently identify the food products they want to buy and use. People living with sight loss have the same rights as anyone else and ensuring information is available in braille is vital for the inclusion of visually impaired people in our society. We know that some businesses and retailers are already taking action to produce more information in braille. However, the vast majority of products are still not labelled in braille.”
Marie Harrower, a member of Oban and District Access Panel and a braille reader, adds: “I feel passionate that blind and partially sighted people should be able to identify products, especially food products, in order to store away shopping, and retrieve products quickly, easily and with the minimum of effort. I wonder what people with sight would think if labels were removed and they had to seek assistance or do some guessing. I am absolutely delighted that the Oban and District Access panel, Sight Scotland and Disability Equality Scotland are vigorously supporting this access issue and campaign to have braille labels on products.”
Lyn Pornaro, Chief Executive Officer at Disability Equality Scotland comments: “Disability Equality Scotland firmly supports the introduction of braille labelling across a wider variety of goods. Statutory requirements for braille labelling are long overdue and until they’re in place visually impaired people will remain at a significant disadvantage in society.”
Show your support for the campaign by signing our Scottish Parliament petition which is collecting signatures until 1 February 2023.
More information about the campaign can be found on the Inclusive Communication Hub: www.inclusivecommunication.scot/braille-campaign
You can also follow the Braille Labelling campaign on social media using @BrailleLabels with #JoinTheDots
Notes to Editors:
About Oban and District Access Panel
The Oban Access Panel covers the town of Oban as well as North Argyll and the islands. It aims to improve physical and sensory access to services and to buildings and environments within the Panel’s area in an effort to create a more inclusive and equal world where disabled people can be independent and can thrive and contribute to their community as far as possible. The Panel’s work includes engaging with architects and designers of new developments, auditing current planning applications, and liaising with Council Roads officials, public transport providers and a wide range of interests.
About Disability Equality Scotland
Disability Equality Scotland is a national membership-led charity working to make life more accessible, equal and inclusive for disabled people in Scotland. We promote access in its widest sense, including access to the built and natural environment and access to the same opportunities as are enjoyed by others in our communities thus promoting a life of dignity, respect, choice and independence. Disability Equality Scotland is also the umbrella body for all Access Panels in Scotland, which are groups of disabled volunteers who work together to improve physical access and wider social inclusion in their local communities across Scotland.
About Sight Scotland
Sight Scotland, formerly known as Royal Blind, is Scotland’s largest visual impairment organisation. We have been dedicated to meeting the challenges of visual impairment for more than 225 years. Our range of services support people with visual impairment and span all stages of sight loss, including learning services, support in the community, residential care, enterprise and funding for research. Sight Scotland runs the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh and the Scottish Braille Press. For more information, visit sightscotland.org.uk
About Sight Scotland Veterans
Sight Scotland Veterans, formerly known as Scottish War Blinded, is the sister charity of Sight Scotland. Sight Scotland Veterans provides free support to armed forces veterans affected by sight loss in Scotland to help them regain confidence, restore their independence and make new connections. For more information visit sightscotlandveterans.org.uk
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