“The best is the enemy of the good,” the saying goes. Is this the case for the nutri-score, this display supposed to show the nutritional quality of food products which will soon become compulsory? It’s possible. In any case, the Irqualim (Regional Institute of Food Quality of Occitanie) stepped up to the plate on May 17, 2021 against the principle which turns out to be a real paradox.
Notes that are based … only on the composition
The nutri-score gives all food products an A through E rating, with A being the best and E the worst. To be objective, this classification is based only on the composition of the product and does not take into account the quantity of product consumed or the level of processing … which leads to major paradoxes: local products, especially cheeses, are de facto considered bad.
This is what Irqualim criticizes, as a TF1 report underlines: these overly objective data do not leave room for the reality on the ground and give pride of place to ultra-processed industrial products. For example, according to the institute which issued a press release on this subject on May 17, 2021, a diet soda is classified B by the nutri-score, while an unprocessed organic apple juice will obtain a C score. If the consumer were to choose his products solely on the basis of the nutri-score, he might therefore think that soda is better, for his health, than apple juice.
Local products: exempt from nutri-score?
Farmer’s milk filled with fat (logically), honey too full of sugar, ripened cheese too salty … so many completely paradoxical situations that Irqualim emphasizes, which is concerned about the choice of the consumer ” between a light spreadable cheese, classified B, and a Rocamadour, a Roquefort or a Pélardon classified D or E but guaranteeing a traditional recipe “, for example.
The institute therefore requests that the law be amended and appeals to the European Commission, because it is at the European level that the nutri-score was introduced. For the moment optional, it could become compulsory … but Irqualim asks that local products be exempted, on the basis of the guarantee of traditional production, often sanctioned by labels.