`French Scientists and Health Professionals Reiterate Support for Nutri-Score - Olive Oil Times

French Scientists and Health Professionals Reiterate Support for Nutri-Score

Nov. 14, 2022
Paolo DeAndreis

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Thousands of French health pro­fes­sion­als, nutri­tion­ists, food researchers and other experts have signed an online peti­tion ask­ing the European Commission to adopt Nutri-Score as its manda­tory front-of-pack label­ing (FOPL) sys­tem for pack­aged foods.

The Change.org peti­tion has already received more than 35,000 sig­na­tures and is sup­ported by 35 French health asso­ci­a­tions. Many sig­na­to­ries are physi­cians involved in can­cer, heart health, food addic­tion and con­sumer behav­ior research.

The peti­tion’s authors wrote that Nutri-Score has demon­strated its effec­tive­ness” in the five years since it was adopted on a vol­un­tary basis in France and other European coun­tries.

See Also:Health Professionals in France Endorse Widespread Adoption of Nutri-Score

Nutri-Score is a traf­fic-light-style FOPL that uses a com­bi­na­tion of five coor­di­nated col­ors and let­ters to rate how healthy a pack­aged food item is, based on its fat, sugar, salt and calo­rie con­tent per 100-gram or mil­li­liter serv­ing.

The Green A” indi­cates the health­i­est option, and Red E” denotes the least healthy. All grades of olive oil receive the Light-Green B” rat­ing after the lat­est update to the Nutri-Score algo­rithm.

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The peti­tion’s pro­mot­ers pointed out that no food com­pa­nies were in favor of Nutri-Score when it was first pro­posed in 2014, but since then, more than 800 brands have vol­un­tar­ily adopted the FOPL.

However, they added that many lead­ing global brands con­tinue to oppose and lobby against Nutri-Score, includ­ing Coca-Cola, Ferrero, Mars, Lactalis, Mondelez and Kraft.

For the past few years, Nutri-Score was widely seen as the front-run­ner of about a half-dozen FOPLs to be selected for manda­tory adop­tion across the European Union.

However, crit­i­cism of Nutri-Score has crescen­doed over the same period reach­ing its cli­max at a recent European Parliament round­table event.

See Also:After Algorithm Update, French Cheese Producers Renew Criticism of Nutri-Score

Italian politi­cians and European agri­cul­tural asso­ci­a­tions have long argued that Nutri-Score unjustly pun­ishes farm­ers and fails to con­sider tra­di­tional food prod­ucts’ roles in local culi­nary cul­tures.

After the event, one com­mis­sion offi­cial told a food indus­try media out­let that no exist­ing food label would be adopted by the European Commission, which would cre­ate its own based on the exist­ing FOPLs.

Separately, Italy’s per­ma­nent rep­re­sen­ta­tion to the E.U. said the com­mis­sion would delay the deci­sion to adopt a manda­tory food label­ing sys­tem until the sec­ond half of 2023.

According to the French peti­tion sig­na­to­ries, Nutri-Score should be adopted for all food pack­ages on sale with­out excep­tion to guide our choices in a rea­soned way, with full knowl­edge of the facts.”

We con­sider this to be a con­sumer right and a duty of eco­nomic oper­a­tors,” they added.

To that end, the peti­tion­ers asked the French gov­ern­ment to pro­tect Nutri-Score in Europe, called for the European Parliament to adopt Nutri-Score and demanded food pro­duc­ers to adopt Nutri-Score to respond to con­sumer demand for true nutri­tional trans­parency on the com­po­si­tion of foods.”


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