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Nutrient profiling vote unlikely before June

By Lorraine Heller , 18-May-2010

The European Parliament is unlikely to vote on a proposal to scrap nutrient profiling before mid-June, FoodNavigator.com has learned.

A draft report suggesting that the controversial food measurement be binned was approved by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) sitting on the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee in March, with a first plenary vote expected at the end of this month.

However, the date of the European Parliament’s first reading in plenary session now looks likely to occur in the week of June 16.

The proposal was put forward by Renate Sommer, rapporteur of the ENVI committee, and approved by MEPs sitting on ENVI on March 16, with 52 votes in favour, two against and five abstentions.

Health claims wrangling

The decision followed 18 months of wrangling over amendments to the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation.

Nutrient profiling is based on the idea that foods high in fat, salt, sugar and certain other nutrients should be prevented from bearing health claims even if they also contain healthy ingredients that would otherwise qualify them to make such claims.

To be or not to be…

According to Richard Wood, regulatory affairs manager at Nestlé UK, the proposal to scrap nutrient profiling is unlikely to succeed.

“I think profiling will happen,” Wood recently told FoodNavigator.com sister publication FoodManufacture.co.uk.

“I doubt [the decision] will get through the plenary session. It has to be cleared by the [European] Commission, the Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The Commission is in favour and the Member States are generally in favour.”

UK consumer group Which? sticks by its opposition of repealing nutrient profiling.

We obviously think it is really important that nutrient profiles are retained in the health and nutrition claims legislation to prevent consumers from being misled by 'health' claims on unhealthy foods,” Sue Davies, chief policy adviser at Which? told FoodNavigator.com.

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