New position paper on nutrition labelling
IFOAM Organics Europe published its new position paper on “Nutrition labelling & Nutri-Score”. This publication comes at a time of political change for labelling as the European Commission is expected to propose harmonised mandatory front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition label by the end of 2022. It will do so to empower consumers “to make informed, healthy and sustainable food choices”.
A label is not the silver bullet to the rise of non-communicable diseases
While we welcome the initiative of the European Commission to tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like heart diseases, diabetes or obesity, a FOP label alone will not provide a solution to these systemic challenges. Wider changes in the food environment are needed, like raising awareness about nutrition, the different methods of food production, the degree of processing, prohibiting the advertising of unhealthy products, etc.
The Nutri-Score provides no indication on the naturalness of products
The Nutri-Score, widely used throughout Europe, fails to adequately assess the naturalness of a food product. Because of this, an ultra-processed fizzy beverage with artificial sweeteners can score a B in the Nutri-Score and a barely processed apple juice a D.
What about ultra-processed foods (UPF)?
The NOVA classification should be considered in FOP labelling as it informs consumers of the level of processing of food products, which is information that the Nutri-Score does not provide. This information is crucial as UPFs are overly consumed in Europe and linked to developing NCDs.
This new position paper reaffirms the commitment of IFOAM Organics Europe to support a real and broad transformation of the food environment which goes beyond the implementation of a mandatory harmonised FOP label. As IFOAM Organics Europe, we believe that empowering consumers to make informed, healthy and sustainable food choices, requires raising awareness about nutrition but also different methods of production and the degree of processing of food.
For more information on nutritional labelling and IFOAM Organics Europe’s work on this issue, please contact [email protected]. IFOAM Organics Europe members can find more information on the member extranet. Contact [email protected] for access rights (issues).
The work of IFOAM Organics Europe on this topic is co-financed by the LIFE programme of the European Union, under the under the Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA). This publication only reflects the views of the authors and its sole responsibility lies with IFOAM Organics Europe. CINEA is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information provided.