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Knorr (Unilever): question on the recipe book sponsored by Crea

For Italian MP, a public authority shouldn't sponsor private greenwashing initiatives

It was presented with great fanfare as the panacea for eating more vegetables, but it sparked the anger of a group of parliamentarians who addressed a question to the Minitry of Agricoilture. It is the Knorr "Recipe Book of Good Food" with the official stamp of Crea, a public body dependent on the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (see EFA News article of 23/11/2020 ). According to the marketing manager of the brand controlled by the Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever, the initiative "is part of a broader will of the brand on a global level, which is to have an impact on the future and help 2 billion people. to eat better, for themselves and for our planet by 2025". But for the parliamentarians it would be an operation of pure make-up and greenwashing by a multinational.

Below is the complete text of the question, with the first signatory the Hon. Northern League player Guglielmo Golinelli.

Question for answer in committee presented by Golinelli Guglielmo, text of Thursday 3 December 2020, session no. 438, with the Hon. Viviani, Bubisutti, Cecchetti, Gastaldi, Liuni, Lonini, Loss and Manzato .

To the Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies. - To know - given that: on November 23, 2020, Knorr, a company owned by the Dutch multinational Unilever, presented the "Recipe Book of Good Food", created in collaboration with the Crea Alimenti e Nutrizione whose goal "is to make generations experience younger people a new way of eating";

Knorr is a company that, for the most part, produces flavorings that contain totally hydrogenated palm fat and monosodium glutamate;

Knorr / Unilever states in its website's Faq that the generalized use of glutamate as a food additive is harmless for the entire population;

Andrea Ghiselli, director of Crea's Research Alimenti e Nutrizione, declared that the "Buon Cibo" project responds perfectly to the recommendations of the latest revision of the Guidelines for healthy eating according to which, in order to improve human health and that of environment in which it lives, it is necessary to increase the consumption of plant products: whole grains, fruit, vegetables and legumes and dried fruit in shell whose consumption is low in the western population, including Italy;

The Cookbook has, for the questioner, the arrogance of representing an innovative collector of recipes, presented on the basis of their effect on people, therefore from a nutritional point of view, or on the planet, therefore from an environmental point of view, highlighting the importance of a conscious approach to nutrition; in the opinion of the questioners, on the other hand, under the pretext of guaranteeing the sustainability of the planet and greater healthiness in people's diets, Knorr intended to propose its own recipe book favoring only the use of its products, far from the model of the Mediterranean diet, and with potentially devastating repercussions for the entire agri-food chain of our country;

Crea, that is a public non-profit national institution for research, supervised and funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, should not sponsor private initiatives simply to do make-up and operations of greenwashing the bargain of a Dutch multinational company;

Crea, which draws up the national guidelines for healthy eating, should not, for the questioner, give health licenses to foreign private companies;

Crea should have the objective of protecting Made in Italy products and safeguarding the Mediterranean Diet, a food model universally considered one of the healthiest and most balanced, and the task of the Ministry should be to monitor the action of this body, given that it also finances, with the resources available, the campaigns it promotes;

Instead, it is necessary to adopt a strategy that enhances the Italian agri-food sector through the adoption of a performance model that responds to higher levels of quality, also due to the positive effects on health -: 

is aware of the facts set out in the introduction and which initiatives of competence it intends to adopt so that Crea suspends its collaboration with the multinational Unilever, given that the protection of Made in Italy products and above all the protection of the Mediterranean diet must be the main objective of the action of Government.

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EFA News - European Food Agency