The Antitrust enters the fray assuming the illegality of the system NutriScore and the Yuka app, thanks to which European consumers can easily identify the most nutritionally balanced foods.
Ferrero asks, Coldiretti orders, the Italian government executes
Ferrero has been conducting a fierce battle against the nutritional profiles of foods and synthetic nutritional labels with color codes for a dozen years. And its ex-president Francesco Fulci, former Italian ambassador to the United Nations, found his best ally in Coldiretti's chief of staff, 'the one who commands' agri-food policy in Italy. (1)
Vincent Gesmundo, on 25.3.21, he declared to his followers that he had forced the minister Roberto Speranza to deny the positions expressed by his representative in Brussels. (2) Professor Walter Ricciardi had in fact dared to join the appeal of 419 scientists and 30 associations of public health experts, for the EU to adopt labeling NutriScore.
The Italian government included in its international representation - alla Codex Alimentarius Commission for Food Labeling (CCFL), on 27.9-1.10.21 - the director of Ferrero Paolo Mascarino. In addition to the deputy director of Unione Italiana Food. Not even any consumer representatives. (3) Mario Draghi then intervened in the Chamber on 20.10.21, declaring that 'the government is fully aware of the gravity that the introduction of Nutriscore can represent for our agri-food production chain and is fully committed to its protection'. (4)
Antitrust, start of investigation on NutriScore and Yuka
Antitrust - the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) - seems to have followed the political orders of the team. Declaring, on 22.11.21, the start of an investigation against eight operators who have inserted the logo NutriScore on the labels of their food products, as well as on the young French company that runs the Yuka app (5).
The investigation on NutriScore - almost like a joke - involves four Italians (GS Spa, Carrefour Italia Spa, Pescanova Italia Srl, Valsoia SpA), two Frenchmen (Regime Dukan Sas, Diet Lab Sas), an Englishman (Weetabix Ltd.) and a German who produces sweets .
'The fear, highlights the Authority, is that the NutriScore label, as well as the scores and judgments provided by the app, in the absence of adequate warnings, are erroneously perceived as absolute assessments on the healthiness of a particular product.'. (6)
AGCM, fears and neglect
It's curious, a euphemism, that the AGCM has not expressed 'fear' of the practices of influence marketing of junk food aimed at children and minors. Ignoring the UNICEF recommendations (2020) on the need to protect the little ones from hidden persuasion techniques and harmful food - and the timely reports of the writer, on a series of concrete cases. (7)
The Antitrust today he cares about knowing 'the criterion on the basis of which alternatives to the consumer are ordered and proposed'on a free app like Yuka. After filing our complaints about hundreds of products for sale - on Amazon and other sites ecommerce - without reporting the essential information to identify its characteristics (8,9).
Political action AGCM in support of Coldiretti has already reached a level of arbitrariness bordering on abuse in recent years. His interventions at the Lazio Regional Administrative Court - to support a public act distorting competition, on the management of aid in agriculture - were criticized for lack of legitimacy. And the act in question, adopted by the director of AGEA in a conflict of interest (with Coldiretti's magic circle) censored by the European Commission but not also by Minister Stefano Patuanelli, was annulled in three separate judgments. (10)
The rules to be applied to the cases in question are instead established by Food Information Regulation, reg. UE 1169/11, which simply:
- does not apply to app operators such as Yuka but only to food business operators, from farm to fork, including catering (Article 1.3),
- does not prevent the use of optional information such as that offered by NutriScore (Article 36). Even apart from its formal adoption in France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Holland, Germany.
In danger is not the Made in Italy but the rule of law. The freedom of opinion and information first of all. There governance of public institutions and bodies. The free movement of goods, the first pillar on which the European Union rests. Incidentally, the freedom to conduct a business.
Yuka's success speak clearly. 2 million people in Italy they downloaded in 12 months a nice app that helps you choose food and cosmetics based on logical criteria. Score NutriScore, presence of suspicious additives, organic foods.
The meaning di NutriScore it is equally clear. Helping populations to appreciate the most balanced products from a nutritional point of view, thanks to the commitment made by university and clinical researchers in a public institution that pursues the common good. Its appreciation by IARC stems from a scientific review on its effectiveness.
Liberté, # égalité, fraternité
(1) Dario Dongo. NutriScore, Ferrero and Coldiretti against everyone. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 16.7.21/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/etichette/nutriscore-ferrero-e-coldiretti-contro-tutti
(2) 'We can remedy everything, as we have done in recent days by forcing - after a statement of denial by Minister Speranza - the Italian delegate Ricciardi, oriented in favor of NutriScore, to change his position in Brussels. But attention and vigilance had been lacking at first, just as adequate information had been lacking before to our shareholders and above all to local stakeholders, who then also interact with the national Parliament. Compared to all other representative organizations, we travel with a double engine. The one located centrally in the confederation and the one present at a widespread level in the territory: it's time to send it to full throttle !! ' (Vincenzo Gesmundo, address to the directors of Coldiretti, 25.3.21)
(3) Dario Dongo. Codex Alimentarius, the NutriScore and the WHO guidelines. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 29.9.21/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/etichette/codex-alimentarius-il-nutriscore-e-le-linee-guida-who
(4) Draghi, aware of the risks of Nutriscore, we protect the supply chain. HANDLE. 20.10.21, https://bit.ly/3xeKYf8
(5) PS12131-PS12183-PS12184-PS12185-PS12186-PS12187 - Investigations started on the NutriScore sticker system and on the Yuka app. AGCM, press release 22.11.21, https://www.agcm.it/media/comunicati-stampa/2021/11/PS12131-PS12183-PS12184-PS12185-PS12186-PS12187
(6) Martha Strinati. Yuka arrives in Italy, the app that unmasks unbalanced foods. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 22.9.20/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/consum-attori/arriva-in-italia-yuka-la-app-che-smaschera-gli-alimenti-squilibrati
(7) Dario Dongo. Influencer marketing, our report to the Antitrust. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 25.7.20/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/consum-attori/influencer-marketing-la-nostra-segnalazione-all-antitrust
(8) Dario Dongo. Amazon, new complaints to Antitrust and ICQRF. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 7.2.19/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/consum-attori/amazon-nuove-denunce-a-antitrust-e-icqrf
(9) Dario Dongo. Everli, Carrefour, the ecommerce that deceives. High prices and misleading labels. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 28.11.20/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/consum-attori/everli-carrefour-l-ecommerce-che-inganna-prezzi-sballati-ed-etichette-fuorvianti
(10) Dario Dongo. Tris of the Lazio TAR on the CAA. Freelancers admitted. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 11.6.21/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/tris-del-tar-lazio-sui-caa-riammessi-i-liberi-professionisti