`Public Health Groups Urge E.U. to Expedite Introduction of Front-of-Pack Food Labels - Olive Oil Times

Public Health Groups Urge E.U. to Expedite Introduction of Front-of-Pack Food Labels

By Paolo DeAndreis
Jan. 17, 2023 15:03 UTC

Many European health and con­sumer orga­ni­za­tions are ask­ing the European Commission to avoid fur­ther delay in adopt­ing front-of-pack nutri­tion food labels (FOPNL), called for by the E.U. Farm to Fork strat­egy. In an open let­ter, they warned that adopt­ing such labels must be con­sid­ered urgent to pro­tect con­sumers’ health in the European Union.

See Also:Studies Indicate Labels Like Nutri-Score Help Consumers Make Healthy Choices

The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), the European Heart Network (EHN) and the Consumers Organization (BEUC) noted that the lat­est data shows over half of E.U. adults and one-third of chil­dren cur­rently liv­ing as over­weight or obese.

They argued that such con­di­tions place these cit­i­zens at sig­nif­i­cant risk for var­i­ous non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases such as dia­betes, car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and cer­tain can­cers.”

In their let­ter, the three orga­ni­za­tions also stressed recent stud­ies that con­firmed obe­sity onset is ear­lier and the chances of liv­ing with obe­sity are much higher in lower-income house­holds.

While no pol­icy tool can solve the issue of unhealthy food envi­ron­ments by itself, front-of-pack nutri­tional labelling, under­pinned by robust inde­pen­dent sci­en­tific evi­dence, is an inter­ven­tion which has been rec­og­nized by health experts as one which can tan­gi­bly help make the health­ier choice the eas­ier choice for con­sumers,” the sig­na­to­ries wrote.

The heated European Union FOPNL debate has high­lighted divi­sions among mem­ber states. These dif­fer­ences of opin­ion are the main rea­son for the delays. The dis­cus­sion has mainly focused on what kind of food labels should be intro­duced.

According to the open let­ter, the new labels should be manda­tory for food pro­duc­ers, use inter­pre­ta­tive color codes and be based on uni­form ref­er­ence amounts of 100 grams and 100 mil­li­liters to allow con­sumers to com­pare prod­ucts accord­ing to their amounts of crit­i­cal nutri­ents, notably sat­u­rated fat, sug­ars and salt.”

In the sig­na­to­ries’ view, such labels should be con­sid­ered a tool to boost con­sumer edu­ca­tion and dietary rec­om­men­da­tions.

The pro­mot­ers of Nutri-Score, the French-born front-of-pack food label, cheered the open let­ter ini­tia­tive on its blog. In Nutri-Score’s view, its plat­form cor­re­sponds with the open letter’s descrip­tion of the sug­gested labels.

Nutri-Score is a traf­fic-light-style FOPNL that uses a com­bi­na­tion of five coor­di­nated col­ors and let­ters to rate the health of a pack­aged food item. The rat­ing is based on the food’s fat, sugar, salt and calo­rie con­tent per 100 gram or mil­li­liter serv­ing. A Green A” indi­cates the health­i­est option, and a Red E” denotes the least healthy.



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