Press Release 08.09.2021

foodwatch: Call to MEPs to support WHO and give a strong signal for mandatory Nutri-Score in 'Farm to Fork' vote

Brussels, September 8, 2021: The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has called on the EU Commission to urgently introduce the Nutri-Score on a mandatory basis in Europe. The food traffic light would help consumers to reduce their risk of non-communicable diseases such as cancer. Thursday 9 September MEPs will vote in the European Parliament on the Farm to Fork report, including Front-of-Pack Nutritional Labelling. The consumer organisation foodwatch calls on the MEPs to take heed of the position of the experts and vote accordingly – supporting compromise amendment 25.  

"The Nutri-Score must be made mandatory throughout Europe as soon as possible – the vote of the MEPs tomorrow is an important step. We know that lobbyists from the food and agricultural industry are fighting against the Nutri-Score – they are playing an unscrupulous game with the health of millions of consumers. The European Parliament must give a clear signal for a mandatory, harmonised, front of pack nutritional label and the Commission must choose the best scheme to do the job – Nutri-Score", said Sarah Häuser of foodwatch.

In a new report, the IARC called the food traffic light an effective tool to encourage people to make healthier purchasing decisions. Increased consumption of foods with good Nutri-Score ratings lowers the risk of death and cancer, it said. Companies would also have an incentive to improve the quality of their products. The Nutri-Score is clearly superior to other nutrition labels, the scientists said.

The governments of Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg and the Netherlands have introduced Nutri-Score. However, because a legal obligation at national level alone is not possible under European law, labelling remains purely voluntary. The EU Commission intends to propose a mandatory nutrition labelling model by the end of 2022.

foodwatch has written to all members of the AGRI and ENVI committees to remind them to listen to the science and not to the corporate lobby. Numerous studies show that the Nutri-Score is the most understandable form of nutrition labelling and helps consumers reach for healthier products.