Companies in Germany will be able to use the so-called Nutri-Score as of Friday (6 November) despite it having been a controversial matter for some time and disputed by some member states. EURACTIV Germany reports.
The “Nutri-Score” label – which provides a combined scale of colours of letters from a green A to a red E – is designed to make it easier for consumers to recognise and compare the nutritional quality of products.
On Thursday morning (5 November), Germany’s agriculture and food ministry announced the publication of a regulation in the Federal Law Gazette that would make the ‘Nutri-Score’ legally usable in Germany as of Friday.
According to a press release by Food and Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner, the score calculates how much energy content and “content of nutritionally favourable and unfavourable nutrients” are featured in 100 grams or 100 millilitres of a foodstuff.
From Friday onwards, the labelling is to appear on the front of product packaging and reflect the nutritional value of a foodstuff within its product group.
Labelling, however, is not mandatory for businesses.
A controversial matter
“Now the economy and trade must follow suit. The ‘Nutri-Score’ provides easily understandable and comparable information for consumers and is therefore a helpful guide on supermarket shelves,” said Klöckner.
For a long time, however, the idea of having a ‘Nutri-Score’ was controversial, despite consumer protection organisations in Germany calling for the introduction of a labelling system like the one in France.
Klöckner herself had previously spoken out against it, indicating that she instead wanted to design her own system.
Introducing a harmonised framework for food labelling is among the main objectives of the recently unveiled EU’s flagship food policy, the Farm to Fork Strategy (F2F).
The current German EU presidency aims to promote a debate among farming ministers on the matter with a view to adopting some suggestions already by the end of the year.
So far, the main discussion at the EU level has been about which kind of nutritional label will be mandatory, with a battle raging between the Nutri-score system, developed and backed by France, and Italy’s counterproposal called Nutrinform battery.
The EU farmers lobby COPA-COGECA recently weighed in on the debate, joining the ranks of those fighting against the Nutri-Score system in the race for picking a mandatory EU-wide nutrition food label.
The farmers association shared Italy’s fears that the system unduly simplifies nutritional information and risks penalising some of the core products of the Mediterranean diet.
[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic / Natasha Foote]