` European Parliament Recommends Adoption of Europe-Wide Food Labels - Olive Oil Times

European Parliament Recommends Adoption of Europe-Wide Food Labels

Mar. 8, 2022
Paolo DeAndreis

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Last month, the European Parliament adopted a non-bind­ing res­o­lu­tion that calls for a stronger com­mit­ment from 27 European Union mem­ber states to can­cer pre­ven­tion.

While the major­ity of the 52-page doc­u­ment focussed on the role of tobacco prod­ucts, pol­lu­tion and updated drug reg­u­la­tions, the par­lia­ment also empha­sized the role of a healthy and sus­tain­able diet.

The res­o­lu­tion asks the [European] Commission and the mem­ber states to encour­age and help con­sumers to make informed, healthy and sus­tain­able choices about food prod­ucts by means of the adop­tion of a manda­tory and har­mo­nized E.U. front-of-pack nutri­tional label that is devel­oped based on robust and inde­pen­dent sci­en­tific evi­dence.”

See Also:Nutri-Score Adoption Can Help Curb Cancer Epidemic, Researchers Say

To this end, the European Commission pre­vi­ously com­mit­ted to select­ing a sin­gle front-of-pack food label to be rolled out across the 27-mem­bers block by the end of the year.

Of the var­i­ous can­di­dates, Nutri-Score con­tin­ues to be the front-run­ner. However, Nutrinfrom Battery, the Italian rebut­tal to Nutri-Score, and the Keyhole food label used widely in Nordic coun­tries are also being con­sid­ered.

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It is true that the res­o­lu­tion asks for the food labels to be made manda­tory, but let us under­line that the res­o­lu­tion does not rep­re­sent a bind­ing doc­u­ment, it is a rec­om­men­da­tion,” Paolo De Castro, a mem­ber of the European Parliament (MEP) on the agri­cul­ture and rural devel­op­ment com­mit­tee, told Olive Oil Times.

He added that the par­lia­ment rejected the idea that FOPLs should add a new rat­ing cat­e­gory for alco­holic bev­er­ages.

The approval of one of my amend­ments is due to the fact that MEPs agreed that in order to fight can­cer, it is very nec­es­sary to cur­tail the abuse of alco­hol but not to crim­i­nal­ize its con­sump­tion,” De Castro said. That is why we ended up talk­ing about Nutri-Score, as it was going far ahead against alco­hol bev­er­ages.”

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Nutri-Score is a traf­fic-light style FOPL that grades pack­aged foods on the basis of the pres­ence of macronu­tri­ents such as fat, calo­ries, sodium and sug­ars in a 100-gram or ‑mil­li­liter food sam­ple.

Its scores range from the health­i­est Green A” down to the Red E” (all cat­e­gories of olive oil receive a Yellow C”). However, Nutri-Score’s cre­ator has pro­posed the addi­tion of a Black F” for alco­holic bev­er­ages.

Serge Hercberg told Food Navigator the Black F” label is being con­sid­ered because all alco­hol bev­er­ages are demon­strated, among them wine, to have dele­te­ri­ous effects on health even in low doses, espe­cially for can­cer.”

This does not mean that we say not to drink them or ban them,” he added.

Despite his caveat, crit­ics of Nutri-Score remain loud and vocal. Some par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, includ­ing De Castro, con­tinue to sour on the idea of a uni­form food label, argu­ing that edu­ca­tion may be more effec­tive in a con­ti­nent as multi-cul­tural as Europe.

Any kind of rat­ing or traf­fic light focused on a sin­gle food will always be dis­crim­i­na­tory, given the wide dif­fer­ences among nutri­tional cul­tures,” he con­cluded. We need to focus on food edu­ca­tion and not on sim­plis­tic and inevitably dis­crim­i­na­tory label­ing sys­tems.”



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