MEPs call for Nutri-Score food labelling to be mandatory in EU to stop obesity

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By Caroline Mortimer  & Shona Murray
Professor Serge Hercberg says the scheme could save 7,500 lives per year
Professor Serge Hercberg says the scheme could save 7,500 lives per year   -  Copyright  Michal Jarmoluk/ Pixabay   -   Mortimer, Caroline

Green and socialist MEPs are calling for a mandatory food-labelling scheme to be introduced across the EU to tackle obesity.

MEPs and several civil society groups are calling on the European Commission to make food retailers adopt the colour coded Nutri-Score system which tells consumers how healthy their food is.

The scheme labels food with scores A-E and colours from green to red to demonstrate how healthy what they are eating is.

It was first developed by the French public health agency Sante Publique France and officially adopted by the French government in 2017.

Serge Hercberg, professor of nutrition at University Paris 13 Nord, was one of the team who developed Nutriscore.

He told Euronews: “If it is imposed on all products, a study from France has shown that the EU would reduce nutrition related deaths by around 3.4% every year.

Read more: Which is the most obese country in the EU?

“This would mean 7,500 fewer deaths from these chronic diseases in which nutrition plays a role [per year].

”So there is a real public health issue”.

Consumer groups have welcomed the move.

Monique Goyens, the director-general of the European Consumer Bureau, said: “There is a growing interest [in the idea] and the Commission is obliged by the 2011 regulations to introduce a review process for nutritional food value, so why not propose the introduction of a mandatory Nutri-Score at European level?

“It would mean harmonising so that all producers are actually subject to the same rules. And that's good for competition, the internal market and it's good for the consumers. "