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Label: EU Commission doubly in default

The "nutrient profiles" on which the UK traffic light label system is based should be abolished

"The European Parliament approved with 402 yes and 285 no a resolution, that call on the Commission to revise the concept of nutrient profiles, also in view of their possible overcoming. These are the profiles with which the EU aims to regulate information to the consumer on food labels, limiting advertising if they exceed certain fat contents or other elements deemed to be at risk ".

Attention: this is a launch of the Italian press agency AGI of 12 April 2016: after almost two years, the Commission continues to ignore this important resolution of the Parliament, and insists on the path of "nutritional profiles", that is, the Regulation "claims" 1926/06. Just the profiles that are among other things at the base of the food “traffic lights” adopted by Britain.

The parliamentary battle has lasted a long time. In 2010 a similar amendment had already been tabled by the German MEP of the PPE Renate Sommer, but for one vote it had not been approved. The resolution voted almost two years ago witnessed a change in the political climate that was supposed to represent a barrier to the nutritional profiles that classify foods as good and bad based on the content of fats, saturated fats, salts and sugars without looking at the diet as a whole.

Yet in almost two years nothing has changed, the popular wish was ignored and we begin to quantify the first damage of the pernicious English system. According to Roberto Moncalvo, President of Coldiretti, "the nutritional label at the “traffic light” on food that is spreading in Europe unjustly rejects almost  the 85% of the value of Made in Italy denomination of origin (PDO) that the European Union itself should instead protecting and enhancing We have arrived at the absurdity that milk or extra-virgin olive oil, noble foods, are branded with red while a light drink can boast a green stamp ".

On this issue the EU Commission is also in default on another substantial aspect.

The EU regulation on nutrient profiles - "claims" - in 2006 had delegated the European Commission to define by 19/1/2009 the nutritional characteristics to which the various categories of food must respond in order to associate health benefits to their consumption.

Well, the European Commission has never fulfilled this obligation in the almost ten years since the publication of the regulation in the Official Journal. This emptiness has created a strong uncertainty on that issue.

Meanwhile, self-managed systems from individual countries proliferate. After the English "traffic lights", here is the French "nutriscore", a system that at least has the merit of considering the food as a whole. Furthermore, France started the system by informing the Commission, so following the EU rules, unlike England, against which the Commission initiated a procedure to infringe the Community rules.

Another system has been proposed by six multinationals: Coca Cola, Mars, Mondelez, Nestle, PepsiCo and Unilever, who would like a sort of traffic light, but adapted to a portion.

lma - 2029

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