The Ministry of Health will implement a five-color system in the labeling of food, as announced Monday by the holder of the portfolio, Maria Luisa Carcedo. The model chosen by the Government is the Nutriscore and it will price foods according to their content in saturated fats, sugar, salt, calories, fiber and proteins so that consumers "compare with other products and make an informed decision", assured the minister.
The initiative, which is part of the strategy to prevent obesity, comes after five multinationals in the food sector develop their own model of three colors, similar to the one proposed by Health, and which will be carried to some countries of the European Union before the end of the year. The measure is now pending the finalization of a Decree Law that is preparing Health and that, after being approved by the Government, must be validated by Congress.
The code Nutriscore, which was established in France six months ago, consists of a graphic in which dark green and light green will identify the healthiest foods; while orange and red will do so with the ones of lower nutritional quality. The yellow is for foods with an average quality. In addition, it does so by paying attention to the content per 100 grams, unlike the system proposed by multinationals that calculates on portions, something that according to the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) could be misleading.
The OCU welcomes the initiative of the Government, which values better than the labeling proposed by the industry, although it expects that it will servemore criteria and reflect "additional information for consumers who need it for health", as the presence of additives or the degree of processing of the product.
Health, which ensures that it has studied other models, maintains that when wanting to take Nutriscore The labels follow the recommendations of the scientific societies and the WHO World Health Organization. The researcher in nutrition of the University of Paris 13, Pilar Galán, recalled in an interview with the Efe agency that "it is an obligation to inform the consumers in a comprehensible way about the nutritional quality of the food that will be consumed". Galán said that this model is the Spaniard's favorite "both in the intention to buy and in confidence." Carcedo herself has defended Nutriscorecompared to the rest of the models, which he assured, "have not been implemented by the administrations".
Mtos beyond the labels
The Executive of Pedro Sánchez also intends to prohibit the sale of "Food with unhealthy nutritional profiles"in schools.on the objective to reinforce the NAOS Strategy (Nutrition Physical activity, and Prevention of Obesity) also and I would need to develop the Food Safety and Nutrition Law. Carcedo has advanced that the contracts of adjudication to suppliers, services of catering, canteens and machines of vending They must have nutritional quality criteria in addition to the safety criteria that are already required. And for this purpose, in coordination with the autonomies, they will develop a protocol to which they will follow the recommendations of the EU and WHO. "It is necessary that public spaces of all kinds become centers that promote health", said Carcedo.
Advertising of food and drinks aimed at minors of age will also be subject to regulation. Health warns that this influences the preferences of children. Therefore, limit these ads aimed at children under 15 years. And that, in addition, they will have to adhere to the ethical criteria of the PAOS Code regulation, which since 2005 reduces the sales pressure on children of these products with the aim of limiting the incidence of childhood obesity.
In Spain, according to a study published in May of this year by the European Initiative for the Surveillance of Childhood Obesity of WHO, around 40% of children are overweight and of these 19% of children - almost one in five - and 17% of girls suffer are obese. Only Cyprus exceeds these figures.