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Food Summit UN, the Mediterranean diet at risk?

Vacondio: "Behind health and the environment lies the assault on market shares in Italy's food"

From attacks on our eating style to the Nutri-Score: the president of Federalimentare across the board in a long interview in Il Sole 24 Ore.

The risk of the imposition of Nutriscore by the European Commission was not enough: a new attack on made in Italy food could come from the UN, which is organizing the Food Systems Summit in New York in the fall. Several animal welfare and environmental organizations are actually pushing for a ruling on that occasion against the Mediterranean diet, which would contain too many animal-derived foods and would not be sustainable for the planet. In an interview published yesterday in the Sole 24 Ore, the president of Federalimentare Ivano Vacondio strongly warned against these attempts, in front of which Italy will not stand by, as already happened 3 years on the occasion of a plenary of Nations United where they wanted to pass the idea that the Mediterranean diet was dangerous for the spread of obesity.

"I want to be very clear", Vacondio said: "From the UN attempt three years ago at the European Nutriscore, up to this latest criticism of the Mediterranean diet, these are all attacks that have nothing to do with the interests they declare. of wanting to protect. Behind the issue of human health and that of the environment lies the attempt to curb the competitiveness of made in Italy food on foreign markets. Our excellences in the world have an incredible success, and not so much for the volumes that we have exported, but rather because of our ability to obtain very high margins from our products. Behind health and the environment, there is something else hidden: it is our market shares that are tempting".

With this, the president of Federalimentare does not deny that sustainability is an important issue. "As an industry we are ready to do more. In twenty years, for every ton of food produced, we have reduced water used by 60% and electricity, packaging and plastic by 30%. Today, however, we are working to reduce the amount of salts, sugars and fats contained in our products. And we do not do it because we are good: it is the consumer who asks us, he is our guiding light".

According to Vacondio, Italy will not be found unprepared. "Before the appointment at the UN headquarters - he explained - there will be two stages of rapprochement: the pre-summit on July 19, which we will play at home, in Rome. And even before the G20 in Matera on June 29. indications that will come out of these summits will be brought to New York in October, and it is in these offices that we hope to make our voices heard. You cannot brand an entire diet as an enemy of the environment: we do not eat meat every day, as we go to America for example. But the risk, if the UN were to express a binding orientation against the Mediterranean diet, is that certain products will not be able to advertise or even apply taxes. But I am convinced that in the end, as in 2018, we will win".

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EFA News - European Food Agency