In June 2016 the European Commission launched an evaluation process to determine whether establishing nutrient profiles to govern the use of health and nutrition claims on food products could have an added value.  Nutrient profiles define specific thresholds for several nutrients (e.g. sugars, saturated fats and salt), above which a food product should not be able to bear health or nutrition claims.

Under the EU Regulation on health claims No 1924/2006, the European Commission was required to set nutrient profiles specifying which products could bear health and nutrition claims back in 2009. However, Member States and stakeholders have failed to reach a consensus on this topic and earlier this year the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution urging the European Commission to ditch the concept of nutrient profiles altogether.

At the moment an independent consultancy hired by the European Commission to prepare an evaluation report on nutrient profiles is gathering data from the food industry to identify the costs and benefits of introducing nutrient profiles.  The final report should be expected in 2017.

Meanwhile in 2015, the European branch of the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted its own nutrient profile model to define the criteria which shall prevent the marketing of unhealthy foods to children. Why was the WHO able to achieve this step, while the EU wasn’t?

If you would you like to find out more about the impact of nutrient profiles, please join our sugar policy roundtable with Therese Comodini Cachia MEP on 9 November. 
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Authored by: Maria Linkova-Nijs