Portugal: Safeguarding Health and Promoting Food DiversityLETTER TO PORTUGAL'S MINISTERS OF AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES, AND HEALTH

We have sent a letter to the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries of Portugal, José Manuel Fernandes, and to the Minister of Health, Ana Paula Martins, expressing our concerns about the adoption of the Nutriscore front-of-pack labeling system in the country.

You can download the letters in Portuguese here or read a brief summary in English below:

Front-of-pack labeling systems, such as Nutriscore, have proven ineffective in addressing the issue of obesity in countries where they have been adopted. Implementing the Nutriscore system in Portugal would have adverse effects on citizens’ freedom, the economy, and the country’s food and wine culture.

Obesity, recognized by the international scientific community as a neglected global pandemic with serious repercussions on public health, cannot be solely attributed to excessive calorie intake. It is the result of a complex set of factors that necessitate a multidisciplinary and personalized approach.

Despite being introduced with the aim of addressing this issue, front-of-pack nutritional labeling policies like Nutriscore have not achieved the promised results, instead generating unintended consequences. For instance, in France, obesity rates have not decreased despite the implementation of Nutriscore.

Moreover, there are numerous economic implications of Nutriscore: it favors large multinational corporations with economies of scale at the expense of small and medium-sized local businesses, jeopardizing product diversity and regional traditions.

Therefore, it is imperative to rethink public health strategies, taking into account the multifactorial complexity of the obesity problem, which includes individual, socioeconomic, cultural, behavioral, genetic, and metabolic factors. With advancements in technology and personalized medicine, we can implement tailored solutions that adapt to the specific needs of each individual.

Hence, it is crucial for the Portuguese government to adopt alternative approaches, recognizing excess malnutrition as a complex and multifactorial issue and addressing it accordingly.

Download the Italian version of the letters here >>>

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