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Nutri-Score banned by Italian Anti-trust authority

Carrefour will only be able to use it with special warnings for consumers

The Italian Competition Authority, AGCM, announced on Thursday 4 August that Nutri-Score can not be used in Italy without some warnings for consumers, and obliged Carrefour and other distributors using the French nutrition label to withdraw Nutri-Score labelling on its products sold in Italy.

The Competition Authority recognized that NutriScore could mislead consumers on food choices, through Nutri-Score’s arbitrary classification of foods, with a "bias in the judgement that does not incentivize the consumer to make an adequate assessment to follow a diet useful for satisfying the daily intake of nutrients".

 “As long as there is no European legislation in this regard”, said the Competition Authority, “one labelling method cannot be preferred over another. Those who want to use the Nutri-Score therefore must specify that the traffic light system is developed on the basis of an algorithm and on scientific evaluations not universally recognized and shared.”

“Those who use the Nutri-Score must also specify that it does not take into account the needs and nutritional profile of the individual; that it is related to 100 grams of product, and not to a portion of consumption.”, added the Anti-Trust Authority.

Faced with the Authority’s decision, Carrefour Italia said it “will not apply the Nutriscore label on own-label products commissioned by Carrefour Italia to its suppliers and marketed in Italy or abroad, on DOP or IGP products, on products of the Italian gastronomic tradition (cured meats, cheeses, olive oil), regardless of the place of production (Italy or abroad) and on products under the Terre d’Italia brand.”

The President of Confagricultura, Massimiliano Giansanti, which took the case against Carrefour, and its affiliates Gs and Interdis , claimed a victory.

“The decisions of the Antitrust Authority (AGCM) on Nutriscore go in the direction outlined by Confagricoltura and confirm the deceptiveness of the French system and its conflict with the Consumer Code. The AGCM proved us right: this labelling system can confuse the consumer and is not based on scientific evidence. It is therefore a deceptive tool. This ruling must make us reflect on the adoption of Nutriscore in Italy and in Europe.”

“The resolution of the AGCM is a step forward for the protection of the consumer's right to have access to clear, complete and transparent information to correctly orient their nutritional choices in order to protect health. In the absence of this intervention, the NutriScore could have spread on the Italian food market, despite the absolute opposition to the French labeling system supported by our government, all political forces, the scientific community, farmers and consumer associations. NutriScore must therefore be set aside, in favour of the Italian Nutrinform Battery, which is based on a very different principle”, concluded Giansanti.

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