Comfort Food Could Be at Risk With Europe’s Food Labelling System
European Union food information law mandatory information in food labeling includes specific nutritional values and allergens.
As the covid-19 continues to spread at a rapid phase, many countries are enforcing stay-at-home orders once again.
As a result, mental health experts fear that a renewed confinement entails serious consequences on a person's morale. In Europe, many have been suffering from what is called to be pandemic fatigue since October.
However, keeping a healthy lifestyle through a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and exercise is reported to be helping most individuals with the stress caused by the pandemic. More specifically, the diet has a significant effect on our mental health based on research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
For many, 'comfort food' is regarded as a means of coping with lockdowns across the continent. According to The Atlantic, Psychologists say that comfort food consumption provides a sense of well-being and something social to us that serves as an essential survival tactic.
However, the new EU policy for food labeling might put comfort foods at risk.
According to Weber Marking, Until recently, the EU is favoring the French-sponsored scheme Nutri-score to be used as the Europe-wide nutrition-labeling policy.
Nutri-score uses an algorithm to assign a letter from A-E and a color from green to red to a particular food product based on five nutritional subsets.
Initially, the whole idea of a front-packaging nutritional label was proposed back in 2014 by professor Hercberg to bring new momentum to nutritional policy in France.
This was where Nutri-score was developed. Following France, several European countries, including Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands have joined the movement.
Nutri-score is a nutritional label that has a five color-coded scale from dark green to dark orange and is associated with letters from A to E.
Products with the best nutritional quality are represented by Dark green color and the letter A. Meanwhile, products with the lowest nutritional quality are tagged with a dark orange color and the letter E.
The British Food Standard Agency is responsible for the nutritional scoring method, which is referred to as the 'FSA Score.'
The nutritional score ranges from 15 to 40 and allows consumers to evaluate the overall nutritional quality of food. The primary purpose of the Nutri-score is to help in supporting consumers and encouraging the improvement of products.
However, some prominent nutritionists fear that Nutri-score distorts the way the Europeans' food preference. As many food enthusiasts know, fats are an essential macronutrient in many comfort foods.
This is the same when it comes to traditional cuisines such as the Mediterranean diet. Additionally, the consumption of fats in moderation has health benefits not only for the body but also for the brain.
Nevertheless, using the Nutri-score scheme has shown that olive oil is surprisingly far less healthy than Coca-Cola Zero.
As a result, olive oil receives a yellow score for its fat content per 100 milliliters, while Coca Cola Zero is awarded a light-green B grade. This is why the Nutri-score scheme is being criticized for favoring processed products.
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