CIBERobn researcher Nancy Babio, vice-president of the Spanish Scientific Society of Dietetics and Nutrition (SEDYN), professor and vice-dean in charge of the Degree in Dietetics and Human Nutrition at the Rovira i Virgili University, has highlighted that the Nutri-Score label places olive oil as the best food ahead of corn, sunflower and peanut oils, and also above palm oil and butter -which are at an even lower level-.
This is what Babio said during his speech at a conference held this week at the Carlos III Health Institute to defend the fact that the Nutri-Score label must be implemented due to its importance and potential as a transversal public health tool.
The researcher has highlighted that Nutri-Score is a living tool that will evolve with scientific knowledge and European legislation and has explained that recently olive oil was included in the calculation of the nutritional profile on which Nutri-Score is based, thus allowing its adaptation to the Mediterranean Diet. This modification, made on a strictly scientific basis and carried out among researchers from Spain and France, has allowed the reclassification of the olive oil with the best score for its outstanding nutritional profile..
The Vice-president of SEDYN has also explained that it is planned to study the necessary improvements of the Nutri-Score together with the scientists of the European countries that have adhered to this system, with a next meeting programmed for 2021.
For his part, Jordi Salas-Salvadó, group leader of CIBERobn, participated in the scientific part of the conference, highlighting the key role of front food labelling in the fight against obesity and chronic diseases. "The increase in the prevalence of obesity and associated pathologies such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, brings with it the need to apply social policies that help to curb this trend. The implementation of Frontal Nutrition Labels has been recommended by the World Health Organization as a measure to improve shopping and eating habits and thus take care of health, preventing the appearance of non-communicable diseases", explained Salas-Salvadó, who is also director of the Catalan Nutrition Centre at the Institute of Catalan Studies (CCNIEC) and Professor of Nutrition at Rovira i Virgili University.
The conference was also attended by Pilar Galán, doctor, nutritionist and epidemiologist, who is co-responsible for the development of Nutri-Score. She addressed the interest of this labelling for the consumer in terms of public health and also talked about some misinformation or fake news that circulate on social networks about Nutri-Score. "It is important to discern what can be a well-founded criticism from what are arguments that seek to discredit a system that has a solid scientific basis and whose usefulness and results have been contrasted and confirmed by studies and publications in various countries", said the researcher.
Once the scientific panel has finished, it has been the turn of the consumer organizations that have pointed out that "consumers want to know what they eat in order to have a complete and balanced diet. For this reason, the organisations are calling for the adoption of mandatory front labeling at the European level based on Nutri-Score to guarantee consumers access to nutritional information quickly, clearly and simply".
Finally, Miguel Ángel Royo, head of the Studies Area of the National Health School of the Carlos III Health Institute, has pointed out the importance of applying Nutri-Score labelling in a generalised way, as a transversal public health tool and as a mechanism to assess and authorise nutritional or health claims and to design price policies. "Nutri-Score is one more of the public health policies needed to combat the obesity epidemic and the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) associated with unhealthy eating, together with those aimed at regulating the advertising, supply and demand of unhealthy foods and drinks. These policies should necessarily be aligned with agri-food policies that promote sustainable production of healthy food", Royo said.