What is Nutriscore and how does it work?

One of the more recent contrast arguments between Italia e European Union is called Nutriscore. This is a proposal for a uniform food labeling system among all EU member countries made under the strategy farm to fork. In other words, a new graphics on the packages to provide consumers a summary of the nutritional qualities of the products. The problem is that not all countries welcome this possible novelty, including ours, however the way it works and for some risks that would result from its introduction. What’s not to like about this Nutriscore?

Nutriscore, what it is and how it works

Nutriscore is a labeling system “at traffic light” which may appear on the in the future front of the packs of food products. It was so renamed because its graphics reproduce that of the light signals that regulate traffic on the street. There are five colors in scale that can be assigned to a food: red, orange, yellow, light green and dark green. To these five degrees also correspond some letters, from E to A. A very healthy product would therefore be labeled with an A on a green background, an unhealthy one with an E on a red background.

The system, introduced in 2017 in Europe and already voluntarily adopted by France and Belgiumaims to visually summarize the nutritional values ​​of foods, in particular fats, salt, sugars and kilocalories. The product classification technique is based on quantities: the calculation is made on 100 grams or 100 millilitres for all foods.

Nutriscore, what’s not to like

This mechanism is one of the many things that Italy does not like about Nutriscore. A good part of agro-food sector of our countryalso supported by politics, affirms that many excellences of our local tradition (in some cases protected by brands such as Igp and Dop) would be excessively penalized by this system, such as cold cuts and cheeses. As a result, producers and the economy in general would be damaged. Among the products most at risk are mentioned above all the Parmesan Cheese and theextra virgin olive oil.

The contestation on the classification method in summary says that a quantity of 100 grams cannot be considered to classify foods such as Parmigiano Reggiano, but the single serving recommended, which does not correspond to that weight. The Nutriscore is also seen by Italy as an attack on the famous Mediterranean diet of which we are among the major representatives. Against the Nutriscore are also Greece, Czech Republic e Hungary.

I favorable

Countries ready to introduce Nutriscore front-pack labeling would be Germany, Spain, Holland e Luxembourg. In support of this system, a group of over 300 European scientists and health expertswho claim that the Nutriscore is the only graphics of this type with proven effectiveness in helping consumers to make healthy choices. In France the choice of him was based on a number of scientific studies and above all on the results of a large-scale experiment involving 60 supermarkets.

Those in favor of Nutriscore argue that it is positive in that it allows you to compare products more easily within the same product category without confusing consumers. As French researcher Mathilde Touvier explained to the site The Conversation makes it possible “for example, within the broad category of potato chips, of easily identify those with the best nutritional quality characterized by the letter A compared to the more caloric ones characterized by the letter D or E”.

Decision postponed

The presentation of the proposal for the regulation by the European Commission on the new labelling, initially scheduled for the end of 2022, was postponed to 2024. A spokesman for the institution told the portal Food Navigator that it is probable that we will move towards a labeling that brings together the characteristics of Nutriscore, of “lock” system adopted in Sweden and of Nutrinform Batterychosen by Italy in recent years.

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