Two-thirds of the European Parliament have voted in favor of a measure to eliminate nutrient profiling from food products, also known as “the science of classifying or ranking foods according to their nutritional composition for reasons related to preventing disease and promoting health,” as defined by the World Health Organization.
The proposal was part of the EU’s Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme, which seeks to simplify the process of regulating food and drinks products. According to one argument, nutrient profiling is not necessary because consumers are already given information “concerning fat, sugar, and salt content,” and thus do not require additional profiling. A chief complaint against nutrient profiling is that the ranking system allows companies to present their foods as having nutritional value, thereby misleading consumers.
News of the reduction in food labeling has been met with criticism from consumer rights activists as well as food industry leaders like Nestlé, who argue that nutrient profiling is useful to their customers.
“We encourage the Commission to continue with the implementation of the current nutrition and health claims regulation, including nutrient profiles,” Nestlé told FoodNavigator. “An EU level playing field will support [the] industry to invest in innovation on nutrition, leading to overall greater consumer wellbeing.”