French roquefort cheese producers fight low nutrition rating

Roquefort cheese has been given a Nutri-score ranking of E, prompting producers to name for a re-evaluation of the meals ranking system. 

The Nutri-score system, launched in France in 2017, provides meals packaging a label that’s meant to rapidly and easily present customers how wholesome and nutritious the meals is. 

The labels use a color and alphabet-graded scale that runs from A, or inexperienced, for the healthiest meals, to E, or crimson, for the least wholesome meals.

Good scores are given based mostly on the presence of components that individuals are inspired to eat extra of resembling fibre, protein and greens. Lower scores point out a better presence of components that individuals are inspired to eat sparsely, resembling saturated fat, salt and sugar. 

Roquefort cheese has been given a Nutri-score grade of E, because it ranks extremely for fats, saturated fats and salt. 

This ranking places it on a par with crisps and fizzy drinks. 

Producers say dietary worth of cheese ignored

Producers of the well-known cheese are preventing the evaluation, saying the Nutri-score system has not been tailored to their product.

Sébastien Vignette, secretary basic of the Confédération générale de Roquefort advised Midi Libre: “The dietary qualities of our product are largely ignored. 

“Cheeses present 19% of calcium provision and eight% of protein. They have actual dietary qualities, however the message is confused by the simplistic Nutri-score color system.”

Mr Vignette additionally identified that Roquefort, produced in Occitanie, has been an Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP) product since 1925.

AOP labelling is given to heritage French merchandise that have to be produced in exact situations so as to respect traditions.

Mr Vignette mentioned: “This signifies that we can’t change our recipes. So, what can we do to have an excellent Nutri-score? Use skimmed milk and preservatives as an alternative of salt? Then it wouldn’t be Roquefort.”

Pressure to vary ranking earlier than EU rollout 

A product’s Nutri-score ranking can have an actual influence on whether or not or not customers purchase it, market measurement agency Nielsen discovered. 

Around 18% of individuals in France mentioned they use Nutri-scores to evaluate how wholesome merchandise are.

The Nutri-score smartphone app can also be more and more well-liked in France, and a few client organisations have even referred to as for merchandise with decrease rankings to be banned from promoting their merchandise to younger youngsters.

Since being adopted in France the Nutri-score system has additionally been adopted in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain, and really helpful by the European Commission and World Health Organisation.

The labels are at present used on a voluntary foundation in France, with supermarkets and meals producers in a position to decide on whether or not or not put a Nutri-score ranking on merchandise. 

But in 2022, the European Union desires to introduce an equal meals ranking system for use in all member states.

Before this occurs, Roquefort producers are eager for his or her cheese to be re-evaluated so it isn’t branded as unhealthy all through the EU.  

Mr Vignette mentioned: “The thought of guiding prospects in direction of more healthy, extra sustainable decisions is an effective one. And nobody could possibly be towards the thought of commercial agricultural producers growing their recipes to be more healthy. 

“But [our processes] change our substances little or no. Our cheese is constructed from uncooked milk and salt for preservation.”

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