`Exporters' Association of Crete Rejects Nutri-Score - Olive Oil Times

Exporters' Association of Crete Rejects Nutri-Score

Jul. 12, 2021
Costas Vasilopoulos

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The Exporters’ Association of Crete (EAC) announced that it opposes Nutri-Score, which remains the front-run­ner for becom­ing the European Union’s uni­ver­sal FOPL (front-of-pack-label­ing) sys­tem by 2022.

EAC, which rep­re­sents Cretan exporters from var­i­ous sec­tors of the island, includ­ing agri­cul­ture, man­u­fac­tur­ing, pop­u­lar art and the food indus­try, ana­lyzed the rea­sons they con­sider Nutri-Score mis­lead­ing to con­sumers” and an unsuit­able food label­ing sys­tem for sev­eral Cretan food prod­ucts.

Extra vir­gin olive oil deserves noth­ing less than the high­est cat­e­gory on any FOPL sys­tem that will be selected.- Kalabokis Alkiviadis and Karpadakis Emmanouil, pres­i­dent and vice-pres­i­dent, EAC

The algo­rithm of Nutri-Score eval­u­ates only a part of each nutri­tional pro­file and only the fol­low­ing ele­ments: energy value, total fats, sat­u­rated fats, sugar, salt, pro­tein and the amount of fiber,” Kalabokis Alkiviadis and Karpadakis Emmanouil, the EAC’s pres­i­dent and vice-pres­i­dent, wrote in a let­ter sent to Olive Oil Times.

See Also: Nutri-Score Updates

It does not con­sider the over­all qual­ity of each food prod­uct or ingre­di­ent (nat­ural or chem­i­cal), nor the rec­om­mended daily con­sump­tion or the pos­si­ble pres­ence of healthy ingre­di­ents like vit­a­mins, bio-phe­nols, antiox­i­dants, monoun­sat­u­rated fats,” they added.

The result is that, instead of pre­sent­ing valu­able infor­ma­tion to the con­sumers for a health­ier diet, Nutri-Score directs them away from the totally nat­ural or sin­gle-ingre­di­ent prod­ucts in favor of the processed food which can eas­ily adjust their recipes to achieve a higher score in the algo­rithm, but not nec­es­sar­ily become health­ier,” Alkiviadis and Emmanouil con­tin­ued.

The EAC cited the Yellow C’ assigned to extra vir­gin olive oil as one of the spe­cific exam­ples of why the asso­ci­a­tion opposes Nutri-Score. The let­ter was co-signed by the Association of Olive Oil Bottlers of Crete, the Association of Olive Millers of Heraklion and the Association of Olive Millers of Chania.

Extra vir­gin olive oil, a sin­gle-ingre­di­ent and nat­ural prod­uct with sci­en­tif­i­cally proven health value and a basic ingre­di­ent of the world-rec­og­nized Mediterranean diet, is clas­si­fied in cat­e­gory C, while other processed food and soft drinks appear as health­ier and in a higher cat­e­gory (B or A),” Alkiviadis and Emmanouil wrote.

The EAC also warned of cat­a­strophic con­se­quences for both pro­duc­ers and con­sumers” if Nutri-Score is selected in its cur­rent form and demanded that olive oil be exempted from the Nutri-Score or any other pan-European food label­ing sys­tem.

Extra vir­gin olive oil deserves noth­ing less than the high­est cat­e­gory on any FOPL sys­tem that will be selected,” Alkiviadis and Emmanouil wrote. Apart from olive oil, our request is extended to all-nat­ural or sin­gle-ingre­di­ent prod­ucts (honey etc.), or else we pro­pose to be excluded from any FOPL sys­tem.”

Nutri-Score’s assign­ment of the Yellow C’ for olive oil has also drawn crit­i­cism from farm­ers and pro­duc­ers in Europe’s other two major pro­duc­ing coun­tries: Italy and Spain.

However, pro­po­nents of Nutri-Score argue that extra vir­gin olive oil has received the high­est pos­si­ble rat­ing for fats and oils. Its back­ers con­tend that Nutri-Score grades are meant to be used com­par­a­tively among items of a sin­gle food group instead of between items from dif­fer­ent food groups.

Nutri-Score in no way penal­izes olive oil,” Pilar Galan, a senior mem­ber of the nutri­tional epi­demi­ol­ogy research team at the Sorbonne Paris Nord University, told Olive Oil Times in a February 2021 inter­view.

Olive oil is rated C, which is the best score for added fats, sea­son­ing or cook­ing, and even veg­etable oils,” she added. This rank­ing is fully con­sis­tent with pub­lic health rec­om­men­da­tions. In Spain, as else­where, [those rec­om­men­da­tions] do not sug­gest the con­sump­tion of olive oil with­out limit.”

If con­sumers want to choose a bot­tle of oil, thanks to the Nutri-Score label placed on the super­mar­ket prod­ucts, they will eas­ily see that olive oil is the best rank­ing com­pared to other oils,” she con­cluded.

Nevertheless, two com­mit­tees of the European Parliament have called on the European Commission to exempt sin­gle-ingre­di­ent food items from any uni­ver­sal FOPL sys­tem adopted by the union.


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