Nutrient profiles back on EU agenda

Nutrient profiles back on EU agenda

 EAS's global director of health and nutrition policy questions whether the new proposal will offer scientifically sound solutions to the issues that led to the first proposal's withdrawl.

The European Commission’s work to create a nutrient profiling system to restrict claims on certain foods will once again come up for discussion in 2013, when the Commission presents its second proposal on the issue, a food policy expert has said.

Commenting on the Commission’s plans to present a second proposal for the establishment of nutrient profiles in 2013 – the first having been discarded in 2009 due to strong internal and external opposition – EAS Global Director of Health and Nutrition Policy Miguel da Silva said it would be interesting to see whether the new proposal would be able to accommodate most of the criticism and offer scientifically sound solutions to all of the issues that led to the withdrawal of the first proposal.

The provision for nutrient profiles within the EU’s Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation required the European Commission to create a profiling system by January 2009 to restrict products considered to be “unhealthy” from making nutrition and/or health claims.

“The process of developing nutrient profiles is scientifically complex, and when the first draft proposals were presented for discussion in 2008 and 2009 there were serious concerns within the Council, the Parliament and the Commission itself, largely because the discussions increasingly became more political than scientific,” said da Silva. “Flaws have in the past been highlighted in previous models, and there are concerns that the system could go on to be used to discriminate between certain foods in other applications, such as advertising and vending restrictions and taxation. It will be interesting to see whether the next proposal ignites the same level of controversy, or whether it will take the EU a step closer towards a nutrient profiling system, albeit years later than originally planned within the Regulation.”

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