by Malakai Wade, Dajana Komp, Hanzhang Xu
Nutri-score has been used in some European countries to help the consumers make healthier food choice, however, countries such as Italy are worried that such a system could cause discrimination against their traditional food.
Nutri-score system was first adopted by France in 2017, and now has been implemented by 4 other countries in the EU. The scoring system is a front-of-pack nutrition label which used coloured letters from A to E to indicate how nutritious your food is. A is the most nutritious, and E is the least.
The European Consumer Organization (BEUC) is one of the active promoters of mandating the Nutri-score system EU-wide. But according to Pauline Constant, the Senior Communications Officer from BEUC, Italy has publicly announced that they rejected not only the Nutri-score system but the nutrition label scheme in general. One of their arguments is that it would discriminate against traditional food.
Italy has lots of traditional fermented foods which are beloved worldwide but has been proven by modern science that they are not necessarily as nutritious or healthy. If the Nutri-score system has been implemented, countries such as Italy fear that it might bring a bad image to the traditional foods due to their low score.
However, Constant did not think this is a big problem for the consumers. She said that consumers like herself are not likely to have a lot of these kinds of foods in one day. Even though they proved less nutritious, most people will control the amount of less healthy food they eat.
“It’s just a question of transparency, because we need to help consumers understand better what they eat,” said Constant.
The EU is going to release a report on the effectiveness of the Nutri-score. Anca Paduraru, Spokesperson for Health, Food Safety and Energy Union Projects at the EU Commission, suggested that now the EU has no potential plans to mandate such nutrition label system this year. But if the member states wanted to implement system like Nutri-score they still can.