Italian Antitrust Authority Prohibits Use of Nutri-Score on Some Products

The decision specifically focuses on products with a protected geographical indicator. Some retailers removed all products labeled with Nutri-Score from their shelves.
Castelmagno cheese
By Paolo DeAndreis
Aug. 10, 2022 19:10 UTC

The Italian Antitrust Authority (AGCM) has pro­hib­ited the use of Nutri-Score front-of-pack labels on dozens of prod­ucts cur­rently sold in Italy.

The AGMC’s lat­est mea­sures pro­hibit Nutri-Score rat­ings from being added to Italian food prod­ucts with a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from the European Union.

The AGCM deci­sion rep­re­sents a step for­ward for the right of the con­sumer to be cor­rectly and fully informed to make his or her choices about food and health.- Massimo Giansanti, pres­i­dent, Confagricoltura

As a result of the AGCM’s deci­sion, retail­ers have 90 days to remove affected prod­ucts with Nutri-Score rat­ings on their labels from their shelves.

While some food pro­duc­ers and smaller chains have decided to drop all Nutri-Score rat­ings alto­gether, larger multi­na­tional chains will con­tinue to shelve non-pro­hib­ited prod­ucts with the Nutri-Score rat­ings.

See Also:Nutri-Score Algorithm Update Improves Olive Oil Scores

However, the AGCM also stip­u­lated that any prod­uct with a Nutri-Score rat­ing must be accom­pa­nied by a sign with a QR code, which the author­ity argues will allow shop­pers to learn more about Nutri-Score and how its algo­rithm cal­cu­lates the scores.

Nutri-Score uses a traf­fic-light-style label to rate food based on 100-gram or mil­li­liter sam­ples. It con­sid­ers the food item’s calo­rie, fat, sugar and salt con­tent.

Foods are labeled with one of five col­ors and let­ters on a scale rang­ing from the health­i­est Green A” down to the Red E.”

The AGCM said it made its deci­sion to cor­rectly inform con­sumers” about the nutri­tional infor­ma­tion and cul­tural con­text of cer­tain food items that are not taken into account by Nutri-Score’s algo­rithm.

“[The deci­sion] is also aimed at rais­ing aware­ness in the food sec­tor about the nature and the work­ings of the para­me­ters upon which the vol­un­tar­ily-adopted label is based,” the author­ity added.

Confagricoltura, a farm­ers’ asso­ci­a­tion, cel­e­brated the deci­sion as a sig­nif­i­cant vic­tory against the more wide­spread adop­tion of Nutri-Score.

The asso­ci­a­tion’s lawyers brought the case that resulted in the par­tial ban in front of the AGCM after accus­ing Nutri-Score of over-sim­pli­fy­ing nutri­tion and hurt­ing con­sumers.

The AGCM deci­sion rep­re­sents a step for­ward for the right of the con­sumer to be cor­rectly and fully informed to make his or her choices about food and health,” said Massimo Giansanti, Confagricoltura’s pres­i­dent.

He added that Nutri-Score rat­ings should be replaced with those of the rival Nutrinform Battery, which shows the energy intake of the prod­ucts as well as their nutri­tional val­ues using a bat­tery graphic.

However, some research has indi­cated that Nutri-Score is more effec­tive than Nutrinform Battery, which crit­ics have argued is coun­ter­in­tu­itive and clumsy.”


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