The Antitrust puts the brakes on the traffic light labels, built on the model of the Nutriscore, that the supermarkets Carrefour Italia, Gs and Iterdis use on the private label products sold in our country. As long as there is no European legislation in this regard, says the Competition Authority, one labeling method cannot be preferred over another: those who have chosen Nutriscore, therefore, must specify on the packaging that “the semaforo was developed on the basis of an algorithm and scientific evaluations that are not universally recognized and shared ». Following the decision of the Antitrust Authority, those who use the NutriScore must also specify that it does not take into account the needs and nutritional profile of the individual, and is related to 100 grams of product and not to a portion of consumption.
For the made in Italy food industry, which has always been against Nutriscore, the Antitrust resolution is a victory; «No distribution group can impose nutritional labeling on suppliers that is not subject to a Community obligation. Otherwise, the EU directive against unfair practices authorizes suppliers to report the distributor to the national authority », said Paolo De Castro, MEP of the Democratic Party and“ father ”of the European directive against unfair practices.
Very satisfied Massimiliano Giansanti, president of Confagricoltura, from which the notification and request for intervention by the Antitrust had started: “The decisions of the Authority on Nutriscore go in the direction traced by Confagricoltura and confirm the deceptiveness of the French system and its opposition to the Consumer Code. In the absence of this intervention, Nutriscore could have spread on the Italian food market, despite the absolute opposition to the French labeling system supported by our government, by all political forces, by the scientific community, by farmers and by consumer associations ” . It is also significant – points out Confagricoltura – that many of the companies involved in the survey have decided to voluntarily withdraw from the Italian market, already during the procedure, the products labeled with the French stamp.
“The Nutriscore label – also recalls Carlo Piccinini, of Alleanza cooperative agroalimentari – is dangerous due to its oversimplification in the classification of the nutritional quality of food and it is positive that the recent Antitrust resolution has made it clear to consumers that it is a non-mandatory classification system. The traffic light system does not help the consumer to follow healthier eating habits, on the contrary, it directs him in a misleading way to purchase, insinuating the belief that it is healthy food or not, for the sole fact of being associated with a label of green or red color “.
Faced with the resolution, Carrefour Italia backtracked, informing that “in agreement with the Authority, it will not apply the Nutriscore label on private label products commissioned by Carrefour Italia to its suppliers and marketed in Italy or abroad, on DOP and 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 group also specifies that «it will continue to include in its assortment a limited selection of private label products, marketed in Italy by the French company Interdis, part of the Carrefour France Group, which adopts the Nutriscore voluntary nutritional labeling system. But the offer will be accompanied by an information campaign in all points of sale and on the website, on the reasons why some products carry the Nutriscore and the necessary tools for a correct interpretation of the nutritional labeling system ».