`Nutri-Score Label Not Required for Spanish Olive Oil, Minister Says - Olive Oil Times

Nutri-Score Label Not Required for Spanish Olive Oil, Minister Says

Feb. 8, 2021
Paolo DeAndreis

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Producers and dis­trib­u­tors in Spain will not need to apply the yel­low C” assigned by the con­tro­ver­sial label­ing sys­tem Nutri-Score to their olive oils, Minister of Consumption Alberto Garzón announced.

Olive oil is good for your health, and can­not have a label that says it’s bad.- Alberto Garzón, Minister of Consumption

We have reached an agree­ment with the dis­trib­u­tors so that Nutri-Score is not required for olive oil,” Garzón told Andalusia’s Canalsur. In the mean­time, we are try­ing to change its val­u­a­tion.”

Olive oil is good for your health, and can­not have a label that says it’s bad,” he added.

The announce­ment comes after a con­certed lob­by­ing cam­paign by the Interprofessional Organization of Spanish Olive Oil, a non-profit that rep­re­sents the sec­tor, for the min­istry to recon­sider its plans to intro­duce the front-of-pack label­ing (FOPL) sys­tem.

See Also: Spanish Producers Join Chorus of Concerns Over Nutri-Score

The Interprofessional said the French-born FOPL does not take the health ben­e­fits of olive oils into due account and ulti­mately penal­izes the prod­uct.

The con­sumer would see that extra vir­gin olive oil is labeled with a C and the color yel­low,” the Interprofessional said. And that sends a mes­sage of alert regard­ing the con­sump­tion of the prod­uct. We fear that many con­sumers will take it as a warn­ing to limit their con­sump­tion.”

However, Pedro Barato, the organization’s pres­i­dent, has empha­sized that the Interprofessional sup­ports ini­tia­tives to inform and edu­cate con­sumers.

We are aware that any rec­om­men­da­tion based on sci­en­tific evi­dence will give olive oils a pre­mium role as the main con­trib­u­tors of fat in a bal­anced diet,” Barato said.

The deci­sion not to label olive oil with the yel­low C” comes in spite of a recent spate of lob­by­ing on behalf of the FOPL by dozens of Spanish sci­en­tists and nutri­tion­ists.

According to Food Navigator, the cam­paign pro­mot­ers empha­sized that the French FOPL mech­a­nism is based on sci­ence.” They con­firmed that peer-reviewed stud­ies have shown how con­sumers under­stand the label and that its pres­ence on food pack­ages allows them to make health­ier choices.

Nutri-Score’s pro­mot­ers also noted the imper­fec­tions and lim­i­ta­tions” of the label­ing sys­tem are typ­i­cal of any nutri­tional logo and any pub­lic health tool.”

The sci­en­tists’ posi­tion was also sup­ported in the last few days by an estab­lished con­sumer asso­ci­a­tion in Spain. The Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) has for­mally asked the European Union to adopt a food label­ing sys­tem and empha­sized how Nutri-Score should be selected among the var­i­ous meth­ods.

Nutri-Score is cur­rently the most effi­cient sys­tem in allow­ing con­sumers to com­pare the nutri­tional qual­ity of foods in a range of prod­ucts and help them make health­ier pur­chas­ing deci­sions,” the OCU wrote.

The orga­ni­za­tion added that to be effec­tive, Nutri-Score should become manda­tory through­out the E.U.

Meanwhile, Italian farm­ers and agri­cul­tural asso­ci­a­tions have once again stated their oppo­si­tion to the idea of the E.U.-wide adop­tion of Nutri-Score in a recent par­lia­men­tary hear­ing about the bloc’s Farm to Fork Strategy.

Nutri-Score is cur­rently the most effi­cient sys­tem in allow­ing con­sumers to com­pare the nutri­tional qual­ity of foods in a range of prod­ucts and help them make health­ier pur­chas­ing deci­sions.- Organization of Consumers and Users, 

They asserted once again that Nutri-Score often clas­si­fies junk food” with bet­ter scores than tra­di­tional and pro­tected local foods.

Massimo Giansanti, pres­i­dent of the Italian farm­ers fed­er­a­tion, Confagricoltura, and vice-pres­i­dent of the European Copa, has asked for unity in defin­ing the new food poli­cies, includ­ing the label­ing sys­tems, pay­ing a lot of atten­tion to the mod­els we want to adopt to safe­guard con­sumers health.”

The label­ing sys­tem must aim to offer accu­rate infor­ma­tion,” Giansanti added. But if we get to the point of say­ing that processed food is bet­ter than nat­ural food, then we should all think twice about it.”

See Also: Nutri-Score Remains the Front Runner for Europe’s Food Label Program

Along with Giansanti, Herbert Dorfmann, a mem­ber of the European Parliament’s agri­cul­ture com­mit­tee, and Paolo De Castro, a mem­ber of the inter­na­tional trade com­mit­tee, have expressed their oppo­si­tion to a manda­tory label­ing sys­tem.

Systems like the French Nutri-Score do not offer accu­rate infor­ma­tion to con­sumers but influ­ence their food choices, mis­lead­ing them with overly-sim­pli­fied direc­tions,” the two said.

It is not accept­able that European agri­cul­tural prod­ucts be demo­nized, with­out con­sid­er­ing that the Mediterranean diet, renowned as healthy all over the world, is based on a bal­anced con­sump­tion of food with dif­fer­ent nutri­tional pro­files,” they added.

To help clar­ify the com­pet­ing claims about the effec­tive­ness of Nutri-Score or any other FOPL sys­tem, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announced that it would pro­vide rel­e­vant sci­en­tific advice.

The group will advise the European Commission on nutri­ents that are of pub­lic health impor­tance to European pop­u­la­tions, the food groups that hold impor­tant roles in the diets of the continent’s var­i­ous cul­tures and cri­te­ria to guide apt nutri­ent pro­fil­ing.

On its web­site, EFSA explained that it would also offer its view on select­ing the cri­te­ria to guide the choice of nutri­ents and other non-nutri­ent com­po­nents of food for nutri­ent pro­fil­ing.”

To do so, our experts will assess recent sci­en­tific infor­ma­tion, includ­ing pub­lished reviews on dietary rec­om­men­da­tions for healthy diets based on evi­dence from stud­ies on humans and EFSA’s work on dietary ref­er­ence val­ues and nutri­ent pro­files,” EFSA added.

The group has been tasked with deliv­er­ing their find­ings by March 2022 but said they would have a first draft avail­able for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion by the end of the year.

Daniel Dawson con­tributed to this report.





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