Nutritional label: roundtable at the European Parliament


The Italian Permanent Representation to the European Union organised on 26th Octuber at the European Parliament the “Politics meets Nutrition Science” roundtable hosted by Vice President hon. Pina Picierno under the auspices of the Italian delegations of the European Parliament’s political groups. The European Commission is expected to propose an harmonised EU front-of-pack labelling scheme in 2023 with a view of encouraging healthy diets and promoting a smoother functioning of the internal market.

In its impact assessment, the Commission examined four very different types of schemes: the French Nutri-Score, a “graded indicator” that assigns an overall grade to foods displayed through traffic-light colours; the English traffic lights, which express a separate evaluation for calories, sugars, salt and saturated fats, indicating their quantities; the Nordic countries KeyHole, a positive logo that is assigned to foods that, among those of the same typology, have a composition regarded as healthier; and finally the Italian NutrInform Battery, which provides information on the quantities of salt, fats, saturated fats and sugars in foods and indicates the incidence of a portion of the product on the daily requirement. Each of the four approaches has different consequences, which affect not only health but also fair competition, consumer freedom of choice, the future of local production and the different food cultures present within the European Union.

Ambassador Stefano Verrecchia said: “Italy remains committed to fostering an open and science-based debate on how to encourage healthy diets through adequate consumer information. We support the EU’s laudable objective of reducing obesity and non-communicable diseases, but warn against disregarding national dietary traditions and artificially classifying some foods as healthy and others as unhealthy”.

The roundtable was introduced by European Parliament’s Vice President Ms. Pina Picierno and the Vice Minister of Agriculture of the Czech Republic which currently holds the EU Presidency, Mr. Jindřich Fialka. Members of the European Parliament held a fruitful debate on their expectations. The panellists discussed nutritional information on foods and the characteristics a nutritional label should have to empower consumers to adopt a healthy, varied and balanced diet.

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EFA News, 28-10-22