For the third year in a row, the famed Mediterranean diet was dubbed the healthiest in the US News and World Report’s 2020 ranking of best diets. As Dr. David Katz, the founder of the Yale University Prevention Research Center noted, “The hallmarks of a ‘best’ diet include balance, maintainability, palatability, family-friendliness, sustainability, along with healthfulness. The Mediterranean diet gets checkmarks in all of those boxes”.
Though plates full of fresh vegetables, seafood and healthy fats like olive oil may be garnering continued praise from nutritionists, Italy has warned that the acclaimed diet is at risk from Nutriscore, the EU’s effort to standardise food labelling. Now that the labelling system is seemingly becoming the front-runner for bloc-wide adoption, Italy’s Agriculture Minister Teresa Bellanova once more made Rome’s ire clear, asserting that Nutriscore would misrepresent classic Italian foods as well as the Mediterranean diet in general.
Devised by French scientists at French public health agency Santé Publique, Nutriscore is supposedly meant to help consumers make informed decisions when comparing the nutritional values of food products. But Italian policy-makers fear that the Nutriscore system is over-simplifying nutritional information, thereby demonising flagship Italian products such as parmesan cheese and olive oil which would receive a ‘red’ rating because of their high fat content.