The European Commission has been questioned on the suitability as well as legality under EU law of the Nutri Score scheme. Nutri Score is a nutritional front of pack food label indication which is gaining ground in Europe rapidly. However, numerous producers are concerned that the label indication may have a negative impact on consumer perceptions towards traditional Italian foods, such as Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Parma ham or extra-virgin olive oil. These traditional foods are generally high in fat and salt which consequently affects their overall nutritional rating under the Nutri Score system. However, as a Member of the European Parliament notes in his official question, the Nutri Score does not take into account the quantity consumed of a given food. Furthermore, many of the listed traditional foods are protected by European Quality Schemes (Protected Designation of Origin or Protected Geographical Indication). Accordingly, it is argued that the scheme induces consumers to buy lower quality foods.
In its response, the Commission puts that the introduction of the Nutri Score had been duly notified by Belgium and France. Following the notification, the Commission has reviewed compatibility with European labelling rules (EU Regulation 1169/2011) which explicitly allow for national Front of Pack labelling schemes if a number of conditions are met. The Commission had raised no objections to the national initiatives. The Commission continued that the label indication remains voluntary, meaning producers or retailers remain free to apply the Nutri Score.
Furthermore, the Commission added that it is currently investigating other ways to inform consumers about the nutritional characteristics of foods. The outcome of this examination will include a revision of the Nutri Score.