Italy Formally Adopts Nutrinform Labeling System

Italy's Ministry of Agriculture approved the Nutrinform Battery food labeling system that it sees as a better alternative to the Nutriscore scheme adopted elsewhere in the E.U.
Oct. 30, 2020
Paolo DeAndreis

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The Nutrinform Battery has now become the offi­cial Italian alter­na­tive to the French-based Nutri-Score food clas­si­fi­ca­tion sys­tem. The Italian Minister of Agriculture Teresa Bellanova signed the act that will allow food pro­duc­ers, includ­ing olive oil bot­tlers, to place the Nutrinform label on their prod­ucts.

Nutrinform is our alter­na­tive to Nutri-Score, but it also is much bet­ter. It does not penal­ize [food], it does not say what is good or what is evil.- Teresa Bellanova, Minister of Agriculture

Today we can finally present the Italian optional nutri­tional logo, Nutrinform, that takes into account the daily nutri­tional intake in order to facil­i­tate con­sumers in mak­ing a con­scious choice, pro­mot­ing a healthy, var­ied and bal­anced nutri­tion,” said Bellanova.

See Also:Nutriinform and Nutri-Score Coverage

The daily intake” con­cept rep­re­sents one of the main dif­fer­ences between Nutrinform and the French-born Nutri-Score sys­tem. While the lat­ter focuses on the stand-alone prod­uct on sale, with a label sum­ma­riz­ing its char­ac­ter­is­tics, Nutrinform con­sid­ers the prod­uct within the con­text of a com­plex daily diet.


Nutinform Battery labeling system

The Nutrinform presents the calo­ries, fat, sat­u­rated fats, sugar and sodium con­tents in a sin­gle food por­tion and com­pares the per­cent­age of those con­tents with what is expected in a healthy daily nutri­tional intake.

Nutri-Score, on the other hand, clas­si­fies food with five col­ors and five let­ters (A to E) to give the con­sumers imme­di­ate infor­ma­tion on the nutri­tional char­ac­ter­is­tics of a sin­gle food pack­age.

Bellanova expressed why Nutrinform is con­sid­ered a bet­ter alter­na­tive than Nutri-Score by Italian author­i­ties.

See Also:Italy Reiterates Opposition to Nutri-Score Label, Calls for Wider Adoption of Nutrinform

We believe this [food label­ing] sys­tem puts the cit­i­zen cen­ter stage and not the global mar­ket,” she argued. It also stim­u­lates the crit­i­cal abil­i­ties of the con­sumers who should not be mis­led by col­ors or images that have noth­ing to do with Science, and it also defends the unique her­itage of the Mediterranean diet.”



Referring to the inner work­ings of the Nutri-Score sin­gle-food clas­si­fi­ca­tion, Bellanova stressed that diet and nutri­tional well-being are con­cepts much more com­plex than an algo­rithm.”

Consumers have the right to be cor­rectly informed, and our food excel­len­cies can not be penal­ized by traf­fic lights [placed on food pack­ag­ing], Bellanova added. The pro­mo­tion of a healthy diet requires a mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary approach. Nutrinform is our alter­na­tive to Nutri-Score, but it also is much bet­ter. It does not penal­ize [food], it does not say what is good or what is evil, it informs [the con­sumers].”

Italian farm­ers and grow­ers have been strong sup­port­ers of the Nutrinform sys­tem from the start. After the lat­est announce­ment by the Ministry, Massimo Giansanti, pres­i­dent of the Confagricoltura fed­er­a­tion, under­lined how Nutri-Score clas­si­fies food (…) with­out con­sid­er­ing the quan­ti­ties nor­mally con­sumed nor the nutri­tional diet, and as such penal­iz­ing some excel­len­cies of the Mediterranean Diet.” He cited the case of olive oil.

In Spain, the lead­ing olive oil world pro­ducer, author­i­ties have for­mally intro­duced the Nutri-Score sys­tem, but only because it will not be applied to olive oil prod­ucts,” Confagricoltura noted — an exclu­sion to bypass a red-col­ored clas­si­fi­ca­tion in the United Kingdom and a grade lower than even rape­seed oil in France.

Those incon­sis­ten­cies are avoided by the Italian sys­tem that has now been signed.

The Nutrinform label is the Italian answer to the mis­lead­ing logos intro­duced in Northern Europe.- Daniele Salvagno, Coldiretti, Veneto

The Nutrinform Battery sys­tem will not be applied to most Italian PGI and PDO prod­ucts spec­i­fied the Ministry since addi­tional sym­bols could pre­vent the con­sumer from rec­og­niz­ing such des­ig­na­tions.

The Nutrinform label is the Italian answer to the mis­lead­ing logos intro­duced in Northern Europe,” said Daniele Salvagno, head of the Veneto region branch of the Coldiretti farm­ers asso­ci­a­tion. Nutrinform, he noted, pro­tects the Made in Italy that the French Nutri-Score or the British traf­fic lights penal­ize, as they do with the Mediterranean diet and the best Italian pro­duc­tions PDO and PGI. We are pro­tect­ing spe­cial­ties such as the Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano, extra vir­gin olive oil and the cold cuts that under the pres­sure from large cor­po­ra­tions risked being rejected instead of being pro­moted within the European Union.”

In a note, Coldiretti under­lined how those dis­crim­i­na­tory and incom­plete” label­ing sys­tems end up exclud­ing healthy and nat­ural food that we had on our tables for cen­turies in favor of arti­fi­cial prod­ucts for which in some cases the exact recipe is unknown. The risk is to pro­mote car­bon­ated drinks with sweet­en­ers instead of sugar and hurt the long-life elixir extra vir­gin olive oil, con­sid­ered the sym­bol of the Mediterranean diet.”

While Italian pro­duc­ers will be able to use the Nutrinform label on their prod­ucts, they will not be required to do so because its adop­tion will not be manda­tory.

That approach is at the core of the Italian author­i­ty’s effort to make the European Union change its view about Nutri-Score.

We ask that the European Commission switch to a label­ing sys­tem on a vol­un­tary basis,” said Bellanova, a sys­tem that can trans­par­ently inform con­sumers with­out con­di­tion­ing their choices.”

Which label­ing sys­tems do you pre­fer?

OOT Readers’ Poll: Nutrition Labels
Total Votes: 410


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