`European Commission Announces Public Consultation on Food Labeling - Olive Oil Times

European Commission Announces Public Consultation on Food Labeling

By Simon Roots
Dec. 20, 2021 10:22 UTC

The European Commission has announced a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on pro­posed changes to food label­ing with the aim of help­ing con­sumers make health­ier and more sus­tain­able food choices and tackle food waste.

The commission’s efforts are part of the recently-approved Farm to Fork strat­egy, an ele­ment of the European Green Deal announced in 2019.

Although inter­ested par­ties have until March 7, 2022, to sub­mit their views, 53 writ­ten sub­mis­sions had already been accepted after just three days.

See Also:European Parliament Approves CAP Reform Amid Strong Opposition

Thirty-one per­cent of these were received from the olive oil-pro­duc­ing coun­tries of Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece.

Numerous groups have crit­i­cized the Nutri-Score front-of-pack label­ing sys­tem in these coun­tries, which is the per­ceived front run­ner. At issue is the score given extra vir­gin olive oil – a Yellow‑C – which is lower than the score given to arti­fi­cially-sweet­ened car­bon­ated drinks, such as Coke Zero.

One of the pri­mary goals of the con­sul­ta­tion is to decide on nutri­tional label­ing. The com­mis­sion is cur­rently con­sid­er­ing five main options, rang­ing from vol­un­tary infor­ma­tion to a har­mo­nized front-of-pack nutri­tion label, which would be manda­tory across the European Union.

However, the cri­te­ria used to deter­mine how nutri­tional value is pre­sented is the issue most con­cern­ing olive oil pro­duc­ers and advo­cates of the Mediterranean diet.

The Italian Nutrinform Battery has received con­sid­er­able sup­port as an alter­na­tive to Nutri-Score. Rather than assign­ing each prod­uct a grade” from Green A to Red E, it gives spe­cific numer­i­cal data and iso­lates sat­u­rated fats from other lipids.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Bari, in Puglia, Italy, have pro­posed the Med Index, which con­sid­ers the sus­tain­abil­ity and envi­ron­men­tal impact of foods and drinks.

In addi­tion to the ques­tions around nutri­tional infor­ma­tion, the com­mis­sion is seek­ing con­sen­sus on the issue of extend­ing the manda­tory use of ori­gin label­ing, not­ing that con­sumers are increas­ingly affected by a range of con­sid­er­a­tions when mak­ing food deci­sions, includ­ing the ori­gin of the food and the length of the food sup­ply chain.”


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