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Label information: Italian Federalimentare critics the British traffic light system

Mr. Scordamaglia (Italian Food Industry): "We are in favour of a shared European system"

"I believe that the whole agri-food supply chain, in terms of agricultural and industrial production, would achieve better results and would be more effective if we would share more

common battles and joint initiatives instead of acting separately", said Mr. Luigi Scordamaglia, Chairman of Italian Food Industry Assiciation, at the meeting "The correct food label that informs without misleading" organized by MP Paolo De Castro and Elisabetta Gardini with the support of the European Socialist and Democratic Group (S & D) and the European People's Party (EPP) of the European Parliament, Coldiretti, 'Observatory on Crime in Agriculture and on the Agri-Food System, and Federalimentare.

In the opinion of Mr. Scordamaglia, "All the associations taking part to this meeting today share the same values and principles. The values of those who think that there is only one way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the EU Single Market, by enhancing it and making it stronger instead of more fragmented by national rules. Harmonised European standards would be the best choice for both citizens and


More: "The common values of those who believe that the front of pack nutrition label information is too important to became a tool for single companies to hide their own economic interests or for

Member States to run their national campaigns. Since the beginning, together with Coldiretti, Federalimentare has criticised the British traffic light system, the scheme proposed by multinationals and subsequently the French Nutriscore".

Why the Italian industrial world is against this system?

"We are in favour of a shared European system which should be transparent, based on solid scientific evidence, non-discriminatory, aiming at informing and not influencing, helping consumers to follow a balanced and adequate diet with a healthy lifestyle".

In particular, according to Mr. Scordamaglia:

  1. These systems are not based on scientific evidence and in 2008 it was underlined also by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which defined them as “nutrient profiles with scientific limits”.
  2. They are discriminatory because they criminalise high quality products (PDO, PGI), which are at the basis of European food excellence. Moreover, they tend to encourage the unlimited consumption of food in which natural ingredients are replaced by lowcost chemical additives.
  3. They are simplistic and misleading systems leading consumers to incorrectly think that following a healthy diet would mean choosing products with synthetic sweeteners/chemical sugar substitute. On the contrary, we all know how important it is to eat high-quality and natural products and to adopt a healthy lifestyle every single day".

Finally, Mr. Scordamaglia explained that "We have already experienced what could happen when a list of good and bad products is compiled, to try to influence consumers’ attitude and then leading to new “food taxes”. The one of soft drinks in Mexico is a clear example: during the first months, the consumption has decreased, but then it has increased again with the purchase of low-quality products with a

lowest price to by-pass the increase of prices. Prohibitionism is ineffective, but a non-stop food education is needed. The nutritional label should be based on the GDA scheme to make consumers aware of the amount of energy and nutrients contained in a single food portion in relation to the daily intake with the use of easyto-read symbols (cakes, columns or others) on the packages".

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EFA News - European Food Agency