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Nutri-Score, the Spanish government splits up

The Minister of Agriculture refuses to adopt a system that "harms national interests"

The statements made to Radio Cope. And the opposition of the Popolari and Vox cite the Italian Nutrinform Battery system among the alternatives.

Labels. As is known, the Spanish government unexpectedly approved the French Nutri-Score system, arousing protests from producers of typical products (see EFA News article of 10/2/2021) . But the choice could be questioned, given the fracture created between the Minister of Agriculture Luis Plana, and his colleague Alberto Garzòn, head of the department of consumption and strong supporter of the color scale labeling system, a system totally opposed by Italy.

Plana, interviewed this morning by the Cope radio chain, lashed out against the French system after noting that extra-virgin olive oil (of which Spain is the world's leading producer) ends up classified as a dangerous food. "I believe that consumers have the right to be informed about what they eat", said the minister. "First of all the origin, because the consumer tends to favor the products of his own country and this applies to all of Europe. Then they want to know the ingredients and components of the product. Thirdly there are the nutritional aspects: everyone wants to consume healthy products. But on this two visions are confronted: that of the product itself and that of the diet. All nutritionists agree that the important thing is the diet, that is the combination of foods. And we have the great fortune of having the Mediterranean diet , intangible heritage of humanity".

"What happens with the question of the traffic light label? The calculation algorithm is based on products other than those of our tradition. It is my opinion that nothing that harms the Mediterranean diet, that is products such as olive oil, olive, jamon or our cheeses, will be approved by the Spanish government. I say this clearly as Minister of Agriculture and therefore also of food. It is a matter that no country in the world would accept. Only the exports of our oil are worth a million tons for a balance of payments value of 2,800 million euros per year. Who can think of devaluing a product of excellence like ours? I think that the debate must be brought to more reasonable tracks by finding a formula The Commission will propose a European system for next year and a difficult debate is underway, but we must defend our interests and our interests coincide with the defense of Mediterranean diet. And we are discussing this with the Minister of Consumption who is in favor of the Nutri-score. I disagree, also because from the scientific point of view there are studies by many universities in favor of the Mediterranean diet and in contrast with the Nutriscore".

"At the moment - concluded Minister Plana - those in favor of Nutriscore are France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Germany. It is a bloc of countries with interests other than ours. My opinion as a minister is that the government must defend our interests".

In addition to the split in the Spanish government, the strong stance of the opposition should also be noted. Popolari and Vox have presented a bill to freeze the adoption of Nutriscore in Spain. And in the proposal they wrote that in the meantime alternatives have been developed, such as the Italian Nutrinform Battery system.

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EFA News - European Food Agency