Nutriscore: Lisbon Government BacktracksCOMUNICATO STAMPA

Leggi il comunicato stampa in italiano  


Lisbon government backtracks. A victory for public health, the economy, and food diversity. 



Rome, 19 June 2024 – We welcome the decision of the Portuguese government to reconsider the previous administration’s choice regarding Nutriscore,” said Pietro Paganini, President of Competere – Policy for Sustainable Development.

We have been actively engaging with Portuguese consumers by presenting our arguments. Competere sent a letter to the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries of Portugal, José Manuel Fernandes, and to the Minister of Health, Ana Paula Martins. Supported also by the Center for Obesity Study and Research (CSRO) and oriGIn, the most important association of the Portuguese GI products market, the letter urged Lisbon institutions to reverse their stance on Nutriscore. “A measure,” comments Paganini, “lacking scientific basis in its attempt to address excess-related diseases, outdated in relation to new nutrition technologies, and dangerous in terms of European market competition.”

With this decision, Portugal joins a growing number of EU member states that have blocked Nutriscore. Alongside Italy, there are the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, Latvia, Romania, Poland, Spain, and Hungary, collectively representing over 35% of the European population. Added to these is Switzerland, a non-EU country, but a market where major retail operations have supported traffic light labeling.

Front-of-pack nutritional labeling systems, such as Nutriscore, have proven ineffective in combating obesity in countries where they have been adopted. In France, for example, obesity rates have not decreased despite the implementation of Nutriscore.

“With the upcoming Hungarian presidency of the EU Council and the start of the new legislature, we hope that obesity and all diseases related to food excesses will be addressed with appropriate scientific awareness and considering their complexity,” adds Paganini. “We are facing a silent pandemic that requires a multidisciplinary and personalized approach, not just a simple colored label. This system penalizes small and medium local enterprises to the advantage of large multinationals, endangering product diversity and regional traditions.”

Obesity is now recognized as a neglected syndemic with severe repercussions on public health and national health systems, social and interpersonal relationships, productivity, and the global economy, profoundly impacting the psychophysical well-being of citizens. According to the WHO, since 1990, adult obesity has doubled, while among adolescents it has quadrupled. In 2022, 1 in 8 people worldwide was obese. In the same year, approximately 2.5 billion adults were overweight, of which 890 million were obese. Additionally, over 390 million children and adolescents were overweight, of which 160 million were obese. This disease, however, cannot be solely attributed to excessive caloric intake. Therefore, it is essential to consider the multiple individual, socioeconomic, cultural, behavioral, genetic, and metabolic factors involved.

“To effectively combat the issue of obesity,” Paganini adds, “it is crucial to rethink current public health strategies. Thanks to advances in technology and personalized medicine, tailored solutions can be implemented to meet the specific needs of each individual.”

Join Our Community and Stay Up to DateSign up to receive weekly updates, thoughtful ideas, and exclusive invitations