The logo, known as ‘Vinkje’, will be the single food logo to help consumers seek out healthier options in The Netherlands.
Authorisation of the logo, which was passed in to the Dutch Food Nutrition Information Decree today, signals the first nationally backed health logo of its kind within the European Union to be supported by the member states and the European Commission.
“The approval confirms the beneficial role a front-of-pack logo can have in public health,” said Pavel Telička, chairman of the Choices International Foundation. “It strengthens consumer trust and recognises the efforts our participating companies have made in improving their product portfolio.”
Telička also underlined the importance of setting the precedent within the EU framework, adding that: “In time, we hope that the Dutch example can contribute to a European framework for this type of claim.”
The Vinkje version of the Choices logo will be used as a front-of-pack logo for food and beverage products. The scheme takes into account the level of saturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, added sugars, salt, and fibre, as compared with similar products within its category.
The Choices scheme suggests that such a single statement that covers several nutrients is what sets apart a food choice logo from a standard nutrition claim – which only refers to the amount of energy or of one single nutrient.
As there is no harmonised approach for such a claim in EU regulation, Member States are left with their own legislative power when providing for a food choice logo – however the Netherlands is the first country to authorise the Choices logo this way.
The logo began its path for endorsement when it was presented to the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport for approval under a new legal article. As is required by the European Regulation (EC) on Nutrition and Health Claims made on Foods, this article and authorisation were then notified to the European Commission by the Dutch Ministry.
The Commission then issued a positive opinion after consultation of the other European Union member states, meaning that the logo now has recognised approval as a nutrition claim.