Olive oil will not finally be considered an almost junk food because of its bad note. Sources from the Ministry of Consumption confirm to ABC that the oil will not be included in the Nutriscore label system because it does not reflect “its nutritional benefits.” The department headed by Alberto Garzón thus accesses «Work to enhance the quality of this basic product for the Mediterranean diet» after what the olive oil sector shouted to heaven for the poor score awarded, a category “C”, the same as rapeseed oil, for example. This low rating sends a message of «alert regarding the consumption of the product», as they have repeatedly criticized from the Interprofessional of Spanish Olive Oil.
Therefore, a few days ago from the Interprofessional they sent a letter to the head of Consumption to claim a top grade for olive oil on Nutriscore, an algorithm-based food nutritional value rating system that compares foods and provides nutritional ratings of processed and ultra-processed foods. Now, the Ministry assures that “this exclusion of olive oil has already been formally raised with the Nutriscore governing bodies” and that the measure would have been received “positively by the rest of the countries.”
For now Nutriscore labeling is not mandatory for brands and is incorporated into products on a voluntary and optional basis. However, it is very likely that this system will be mandatory in the future. “For this reason, it is essential to speed up the procedures for the exclusion of olive oil so that it cannot generate a negative impact on the Spanish industry in the future,” say the same Consumer sources.
The exclusion of olive oil from the Nutriscore system also will have a positive impact to favor their export. From Consumption they remember that Nutriscore is already being implemented progressively in France, the Netherlands and Germany and they recognize that removing it from this system “is the only way to defend the oil in other countries.
Implementation in 2021
At the moment, the frontal labeling system or Nutriscore is voluntary in Spain and depends on the companies deciding to incorporate it until the European regulations decide on its obligatory nature. Our country will thus join France and the Netherlands, which already have this system in place, and Belgium and Germany, which have announced to Brussels their desire to implement it as soon as possible. For its part, the European Commission plans to legislate in this regard and demand compliance by the end of 2022. Meanwhile, the department led by Garzón is already in the process of drafting a royal decree that he hopes to have ready throughout 2021.
Garzón has come to recognize that none of the existing labeling systems is perfect, but has stressed that, for now, Nutriscore is the one that generates the greatest consensus. According to the minister, the choice of this labeling system is due to the fact that is the one with the most support from scientists and nutritionists, of consumer associations and, in addition, it is more intuitive for the consumer when shopping at the supermarket. In addition, a large part of the food sector has already announced its intention to join its brands to this initiative.