Tuesday 10 December 2019

Government gives green light to new healthy food logo

A Nutri-score logo on yoghurt. Photo: Cz ja [CC0] via Wikimedia Commons

The government has given the green light to a new system of food labeling which it hopes will help consumers make ‘healthy choices’ when it comes to buying food.

Junior health minister Paul Blokhuis announced the government’s decision in favour of the French food labelling system Nutri-Score on Thursday and said the definitive logo should see an end to the confusion surrounding food quality logos.

Supermarkets had earlier opposed the system because it includes a red logo denoting unhealthy products while critics claimed the way the system is set up would only increase confusion, the NRC reported.

Nutri-Score, which replaces manufacturers’ own ‘tick’ (V) logo, grades food between A (green) and E (red). The scores indicate calorific content, the amount of sugar, saturated fat, salt, protein, fruit, vegetables and nuts. A is the healthiest option while red means the product is bad for your health.

Confusion

Critics of the new label said the logo would confuse consumers because the new system looks at separate ingredients. That could lead to a green A or B label for products that fit into unhealthy eating patterns (such as pizza and sugary cereals) while tea and cheese could end up with a yellow C label, the NRC said.

Blokhuis has said that the logo will be adjusted to make a better fit with the Schijf van Vijf, the official Dutch recommendations on healthy eating, which takes eating patterns into account as well as ingredients.

France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Spain have already adopted the system. Its introduction in the Netherlands is part of the agreement reached by ministers, consumer groups and industry last year to tackle unhealthy eating habits. Half of Dutch people are currently overweight.

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