Consumption refuses to claim the exclusion of ham and cheese from the Nutriscore system

Teresa Sanchez Vicente

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“Doing nothing is unacceptable and we are not going to give in to any kind of pressure.” This is how sources from the Ministry of Consumption express themselves about the Nutriscore system after the criticism received and advance that the royal decree that will regulate this labeling will be approved before the end of the current year, probably immediately after the summer. «The important thing is to understand that the Nutriscore model is voluntary and that the ultimate goal is introduce an incentive to companies to improve nutritional quality and also that consumers have better information about the product they are consuming “, say sources from the ministry led by Alberto Garzón.

Although the powers for this system to be considered mandatory correspond to the European Commission, from Consumer Affairs they defend the existence of a prescriptive system, “to use this tool as one more way to transform the diet and consumption patterns.” Likewise, they do not hesitate to settle the controversy by making it clear that will not demand before the Nutriscore governing bodies the exclusion of ham and cheese after complaints from the producers of these foods and just as it was finally done with olive oil. “We demand that olive oil be removed for scientific reasons since it has nutritional properties that had not been recognized by the algorithm and that is why we continue to defend that it is part of the Mediterranean diet”, they indicate. But “we are not going to lie or say that other products are excluded; here there are only scientific reasons ”, add the same sources from the department headed by Garzón.

From the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, they point out that the system is voluntary and recall that “Any sector can exclude itself when appropriate”. However, they also highlight that there is a high probability that the front labeling system will become mandatory and that therefore it is better to incorporate as soon as possible. Likewise, the aforementioned consumption sources underline the importance of not being left out of the labeling for commercial reasons, since the system is already present in other countries such as France, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland and in these cases, Spanish products that do not have Nutriscore compete, consequently, in an unfavorable environment.

Ban advertising

The next step to be taken by the coalition government will be to address the regulation of food advertising based on the note released by the Nutriscore system. From Consumption they defend that these nutritional profileswill allow prohibiting the advertising of those products with nutritional componentsin which it has been shown that they are detrimental to health, especially in the case of those aimed at minors.

Nutriscore, que It is based on an algorithm that what it does is synthesize the nutritional information graphically On a color scale, it has received strong criticism from different business sectors, but also scientists. Nutriscore does not indicate whether a product is good or bad, it only gives a score based on the ingredients included. Now, the frontal labeling system is voluntary in our country and it is in the hands of food producing companies whether to incorporate it or not until the European Commission decides on its obligation.

In different interventions, the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón, has come to recognize that Nutriscore is not the panacea, but has insisted that the system that generates the greatest consensus, at the same time that he has insisted on the importance of prioritizing food intake fresh. For the holder of Consumption, opting for this labeling system that scores packaging is because it is the one that has the most support from different aspects of society. From the business sector, large companies (Danone or Nestlé, for example) have already announced their intention to include this traffic light in all its products.

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