Italy’s Competition Authority clarifies that the use of the “NutriScore” rating on food packaging is an unfair commercial practice.

Maria Beatrice Bernadette Arnese

The NutriScore rating is a front-of-pack label that provides information on the nutritional qualities of foods using five different colours and letters to rate food products into five categories: from category A (dark green), indicating a higher nutritional quality, to category E (dark orange), indicating a lower nutritional quality.

On July 12, 2022 with the decisions no. 30241 and no. 30243 the Italian Competition Authority stated that displaying the NutriScore label on food packaging is an unfair trading practice pursuant to Articles 20, 21 let. b) and 22 of Consumer Code. According to the Authority, NutriScore is a misleading labelling system because it does not allow consumers to rate the nutritional qualities of food products. This type of front-of-pack label – which is developed based on a rating system that assigns a colour and a letter to food products on the basis of a complex algorithm – appears to be based on an arbitrary classification of negative or positive ingredients, that does not allow consumers to take the informed choices that would enable them to introduce the necessary nutrients in their diet.

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