`Official Suggests Nutri-Score Will Not Be Europe’s Single Nutrition Label - Olive Oil Times

Official Suggests Nutri-Score Will Not Be Europe’s Single Nutrition Label

Nov. 9, 2022
Daniel Dawson

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The European Commission will delay its plans to adopt a har­mo­nized Europe-wide nutri­tion label before March 2023, accord­ing to Italy’s European Union rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

The exec­u­tive gov­ern­ing body of the European Union is also unlikely to rec­om­mend a sin­gle exist­ing label, a com­mis­sion spokesper­son said.

The dif­fer­ent options which the com­mis­sion will put for­ward will build on already exist­ing for­mats already devel­oped in the European Union, such as Nutri-Score, Nutrinform Battery or the Keyhole.- European Commission spokesper­son, 

Instead, the com­mis­sion will sub­mit a new pro­posal for over­all nutri­tional food label­ing in Europe by the end of the year and make a final deci­sion by the end of the sec­ond quar­ter in 2023.

The announce­ment was made after Nutri-Score, a traf­fic-light-style front-of-pack-label (FOPL) widely con­sid­ered the front-run­ner, was crit­i­cized by food indus­try groups and Italian politi­cians at a round­table debate of nutri­tion sci­ence held at the European Parliament.

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

Stefano Verrecchia, the Italian ambas­sador to the E.U., said Nutri-Score ignored national dietary tra­di­tions and arti­fi­cially” clas­si­fied some foods as healthy or unhealthy.

However, a European Commission spokesper­son told Food Navigator the food label­ing pro­posal is sched­uled for adop­tion in the com­ing months.”

The com­mis­sion is still assess­ing the out­come of the past impact assess­ment and con­sul­ta­tions it held with mem­ber states and stake­hold­ers,” the source added. No deci­sion has been taken yet on how sus­tain­able food label­ing will be exactly framed and reg­u­lated.”

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However, the spokesper­son sug­gested that none of the front-of-pack schemes cur­rently under con­sid­er­a­tion would be adopted, with ele­ments from each incor­po­rated into a com­pletely sep­a­rate FOPL.

The dif­fer­ent options which the com­mis­sion will put for­ward will build on already exist­ing for­mats already devel­oped in the European Union, such as Nutri-Score (France), Nutrinform Battery (Italy) or the Keyhole (Sweden),” the source said.

Since its vol­un­tary intro­duc­tion in 2017, Nutri-Score has become a polar­iz­ing topic in the 27-mem­ber bloc. France and Belgium have adopted vol­un­tary use of the FOPL, with Spain, the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg announc­ing the future imple­men­ta­tion of the FOPL.

Its sup­port­ers, which include a coali­tion of 300 European sci­en­tists and health pro­fes­sion­als, believe Nutri-Score is the only FOPL with proven effi­cacy in help­ing con­sumers make healthy choices.

However, Italy has spear­headed the efforts to derail the adop­tion of Nutri-Score, both nation­ally and on the European level.

Politicians, agri­cul­ture unions and other food indus­try lob­by­ists argue that low Nutri-Score rat­ings for olive oil and tra­di­tional cheese and meat prod­ucts will hurt farm­ers. However, a sur­vey of French con­sumers found that Nutri-Score rat­ings did not penal­ize tra­di­tional food prod­ucts.

Regardless, Italy’s anti-trust author­i­ties pro­hib­ited Nutri-Score rat­ings on some prod­ucts in August.

The month before, the coun­ty’s mar­ket watch­dog declined to approve a new food rat­ing mobile appli­ca­tion in the coun­try until it low­ered the influ­ence of Nutri-Score rat­ings on its algo­rithm.

Serge Herberg, a nutri­tion pro­fes­sor at the Université of Sorbonne Paris Nord’s med­ical school and co-cre­ator of Nutri-Score, lamented the recent com­mis­sion announce­ment.

He did not with­hold his crit­i­cism on what he believes is a con­certed food indus­try effort to sab­o­tage the debate over nutri­tion label­ing in com­ments to Food Navigator.

“[The nutri­tion sci­ence round­table debate con­tained] all the usual fake news dis­sem­i­nated against Nutri-Score, espe­cially cheese and processed meats sec­tors and their rep­re­sen­ta­tives and lob­bies,” he said.

There is a lot of dis­in­for­ma­tion try­ing with­out any sci­en­tific basis to dis­credit Nutri-Score with a total nega­tion of the sci­ence,” Hercbeg added.

If the European Commission favors sci­ence and pub­lic health, Nutri-Score should be cho­sen,” Hercberg con­cluded. If not, con­sid­er­ing that Nutri-Score is too polar­iz­ing,’ we may con­sider that the European Commission has yielded to the agri-food lob­bies.”



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