274 individual European scientists and 26 expert associations representing hundreds of scientists and health professionals working in the fields of nutrition, public health, preventive medicine, obesity, endocrinology, oncology, cardiology, pediatrics, and social marketing representing 32 different European countries, have signed a Call demanding the European Commission “to adopt Nutriscore as soon as possible as a harmonized and mandatory front-of-pack nutrition label (FOPNL) across Europe, in the interest of both consumers and public health”.
In May 2020, the European Commission announced the intended adoption of a mandatory FOPNL before the end of 2022, as part of its Farm-to Fork-Strategy, in order to help consumers make health-conscious food choices. Since then, acording to the signatories, “powerful lobbies, supported by some member states, have used misleading statements in order to discredit and offset the choice of Nutri-Score”. “These lobbies either assert that the information provided by current labelling with back-of-pack nutrition facts is sufficient, or support an alternative, monochrome number-based label supposed to be «neutral» (the « NutrInform battery labelling system »)” as highlighted by signatories of the present Call.
Acording to them “the latter is not supported by any scientific evidence whatsoever; moreover, its concept and design are very similar to the GDA/RIs format set up by food companies in the 2000s (and shown by numerous studies to be entirely ineffective)”. The goal of these lobbies “is at best to block the decision-making process for the establishment of a harmonized uniform front-of-pack nutrition label across Europe or at the very least to prevent Nutri-Score from becoming the model of choice”.
In response to such actions, European scientists have decided to get together and sign an official Call in order to emphasize the fact that “only scientific evidence must guide political decisions in the field of public health and that the choice of a nutrition label for Europe must correspond to this requirement alone, and not to the interests of economic power players or the member states that defend them”.
The Call – published today – is supported by the attached scientific text stressing the fact that Nutri-Score, developed by academic researchers without any conflicts of interest – is the only front-of-pack nutrition label in Europe that has been the subject of more than 40 scientific studies published in peer-reviewed international scientific journals, “demonstrating its effectiveness, relevance, and utility to consumers and to public health, as well as its ability to outperform other existing labels or labels supported by lobbyist groups”.