Sunday, May 9

The Government will not exclude ham from the nutritional label despite pressure

Nutriscore front labeling.

Nutriscore front labeling.

Government does not intend to exclude ham or cheese of the front labeling of Nutriscore colors and letters, as requested by the employers of both foods after learning that Spain expects olive oil to be left out of the system. Sources of the Ministry of Consumption have indicated this Wednesday that he is not going to give in to the pressure of the lobbies and that since labeling is voluntary, because the EU has not yet decided that it is mandatory, any sector can exclude itself if it deems it appropriate.

Of course, these sources have made it clear both to the ham, as well as to the cheese sector and any other industry that wants to avoid labeling, that “what is reasonable” is adapt at the same time because, sooner or later, it is foreseeable that the EU make it mandatory.

These sources also consider that the case of ham or cheese It is different that of olive oil since the latter food has “nutritional properties” not recognized by the algorithm through which Nutriscore gives a letter from A to E and a color to each product (from green to red) and is a food essential in the Mediterranean diet.

The petition

For this reason, the Government has transferred to the rest of the countries that make up the Governance Committee of Nutriscore precisely that, with the aim that once Spain approves the labeling and becomes part of the countries that govern this system, none of them oblige Spanish oil producers to implement the Nutriscore, which gives a C to the olive oil and equates therefore to others oils such as rapeseed.

But in no case, according to the Ministry of Consumption, is it going to proceed the same with other foods and it is going to “lie” to the scientific committee so that there are other exclusions, no matter how “famous” the products are in Spain.

The pressures

These sources have acknowledged that there is “pressures” by producers who get a bad mark on their products, but have reaffirmed the government’s determination to regulate labeling before the end of the year because it is a measure that is part of the coalition agreement and because although the Nutriscore system has deficiencies, it is the one that has the most support within the scientific community.

Although there are many nutritionists That oppose, with the argument that it is a confusing system and can occur as when the ‘light’ label was implemented, that the consumer understood that they could consume these products without limit and increased the obesity. Likewise, renowned nutritionists denounce that it is the preferred system by the industry, because the amount of certain components such as sugar or salt can be modified and thus obtain a better grade.

The controversy

Explodes controversy created around Nutriscore, inside and outside Spain, with countries such as Italy among its main detractors and France, which has already implemented it, among its defenders, that the Consumption forecast to implement it in Spain before the end of the year does not meet the initial schedule from the minister Alberto Garzon, who assured that it would be approved in the first quarter of this year.

The regulation is necessary since, even if it is voluntary, if a company decides to put the label on one of its products, it will have to apply it to all of them, not like now that it is only found in the healthiest foods in the supermarket.

In addition, Garzón’s claim is that once it is regulated, it will be prohibit advertising of baby foods that get bad marks.

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