Italy to fight food traffic light system (3)

'We will write to EC' shortly says Martina

(ANSA) - Rome, March 8 - Italy is set to fight a possible EU food ingredient traffic light system, Farm Minister Maurizio Martina said after food-industry multinationals including Coca-Cola, Mars, Mondelez International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilevercame out in favour of such a system. "We will write again to the European Commission in the next few hours to intervene to stop the spread of an element which would be so market distorting," he told reporters. Traffic light labels have been mooted showing how much fat, saturated fats, sugar, and salt are in that food by using the traffic light signals for high (red), medium (amber) and low (green) percentages for each of these ingredients. Last April the European Parliament voted against Britain's so-called "traffic light" food-labelling scheme. The parliament approved a motion questioning the scientific basis of the nutritional profiles at the heart of the system with 402 votes in favour, 285 against and 22 abstentions.
    The system is designed to help consumers make healthy choices, by labelling food items red, amber or green according to their fat, salt and sugar contents.
    But it has come under fire, including from Italy, which is concerned about the repercussions it will have on exports, such as its olive oils, salamis and cheeses.
    Critics have said the system creates many paradoxes, such as having a red label for extra-virgin olive oil, which is widely acknowledged to have many benefits as part of a balanced diet, and a green one for diet sodas.


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