The members of OPTA Europe have adopted the OPTA Position paper on Nutrition labelling and communication in reference to the Nutri-score.

OPTA Europe recommends integration of Nova-concept into the Nutri-score

OPTA Europe expresses additional recommendations in reference to the Nutri-score

In this position paper OPTA welcomes the clear statements of the F2F strategy on the relationship between diet and health. It shows the responsibility and ambition of the Commission to support citizens in their food choices through appropriate food labeling. Massive overweight, premature diet-related deaths and skyrocketing healthcare costs due to diet-caused non-communicable diseases are signals for urgent action. And it is good that the EU government is willing to take action against malnutrition.

With regard to a possible mandatory front-of-pack-labeling (FoPL), OPTA expresses in the new published position paper two main additional recommendations.

¿What should the Nutri-Score also include?

Bavo van den Idsert, association manager of OPTA: ‘It is clear that the Nutri-score concept is the most favorable and understandable concept, based on evidence in studies. Nutri-Score translates the nutritional recommendations into an easy-to-understand graphical representation. However, the essential precondition is that the dietary guidelines underlying a FoPL labelling concept are evidence-based. It is mainly this point why we question some aspects of Nutri-Score, specified in our position paper.

A main aspect is that the Nutri-Score should also include information on the degree of processing because of its high effect on diet-related metabolic diseases compared to the mere composition of macronutrients and therefore should be linked with the Nova-concept.

Nutri-Score should also include information on the degree of processing because of its high effect on diet-related metabolic diseases

Nutritional education and prevention shouldn’t be replaced

Another main recommendation in the OPTA position paper is that a FoPL labelling concept such as Nutri-Score can and must not replace or reduce other activities such as funding for nutritional education and high-quality food in schools, Kindergartens, Universities, Hospitals and other public institutions. Education and prevention, along with reformulation of products and – above all – some corrections of dietary guidelines, remain important pillars in the struggle against diet-related diseases.

Consider becoming a member of OPTA, the Organic Processing and Trade Association.

OPTA

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Hello,

    Interesting proposition. I am researcher at INRAE, and I would like to draw your attention on the Siga score (I worked on its elaboration) that already combines processing, additives, matrix effect and nutritional dimensions into an holistic score based on NOVA classification and a hierarchical analysis. It is based also on a combined holistic/reductionist approach. We have published three papers on this score, notably relative to organic foods:

    1. Davidou S, Frank K, Christodoulou A, Fardet A (2021) Organic food retailing: to what extent are foods processed and do they contain markers of ultra-processing? International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. doi:10.1080/09637486.2021.1966395
    2. Davidou S, Christodoulou A, Frank K, Fardet A (2021) A study of ultra-processing marker profiles in 22,028 packaged ultra-processed foods using the Siga classification. J Food Comp Anal 99:103848
    3. Davidou S, Christodoulou A, Fardet A, Frank K (2020) The holistico-reductionist Siga classification according to degree of food processing: An evaluation of ultra-processed foods in French supermarkets. Food & Function 11:2026-2039

    We think the Siga score adresses well your concern, and is more specific and robuts than combining NOVA and Nutri-score, with less approximations, and no inconsistency in food rankings. Notably, Siga developped an exhuastive database of all markers of ultra-processing for accurately identifying UPFs. Today, a smartphone application is already available and operational for the consumers, industries, and food retails. Notably, NOVA groups 1 and 3 were split into two other processing categories including matrix effect and added fat/salt/sugar, which would not be the case when combining NOVA and the Nutri-score: what’s about NOVA 3 for example?

    Besides, I have some collaborations with several actors of the organic food chain in France.

    Available I remain should you need further information,

    My best regards,

    Anthony FARDET

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