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Information is good, the Nutri-Score is not

Date

20 Aug 2020

Sections

InfoSociety

Berlin, DE - The German government has started to recommend the Nutri-Score packaging label. Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner believes that consumers need a label that is easy to understand and to help orient choices for them, and therefore decided to recommend Nutri-Score, which received the support of the French government in 2017. Senior Policy Analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, Bill Wirtz, says the label is a mistake:

"In the European Union, member states cannot introduce a label unilaterally, so for the time being, they stick with a recommendation. Berlin, like Paris, is lobbying for the label to become mandatory throughout the EU. It is a mistake to ignore the bad experiences in France," said Wirtz.

"The system is straightforward and provides consumers with information about the nutritional value of a product on a scale from A to E (A would be positive in this case), and the colours green to red. The system only takes into account a very limited number of nutrients (salt, sugar, saturated fats, fibre and fruit/vegetable content) and ignores others. Olivier Andrault of the French consumer association UFC (which takes a positive view of the Nutri-Score) explains: "The Nutri-Score is not complete because it does not take into account the presence of additives or trans-fatty acids and does not clearly indicate the frequency with which products can be consumed based on their assessment".

"Do these consumers know that Nutri-Score does not say anything about whether a food is healthy or unhealthy? This is because if you offset calories and favourable and unfavourable nutrients against each other, you do not always get a healthy mix for your daily diet. In addition, food companies can adapt the calculations of Nutri-Score in such a way that many consumers are misled. For example, "wholemeal bread" can have dietary fibre industrially added to it, to achieve a better score without therefore being healthier".

"Federal Minister Julia Klöckner is reacting with the wrong model to the very real problem of overweight in Germany. She should focus on more incentives for physical activity instead of state nutrition models," concludes Wirtz.

***CCC’s Senior Policy Analyst Bill Wirtz is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries HERE.***

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The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva, Lima, Brasilia, and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

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