Nutella splashes on the Oms.

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WHO was targeted last week by the Ferrero group. Whose president tried to make ‘all Nutella a bundle,’ alleging that the World Health Organization would like to introduce taxes on extra virgin olive oil and Parmesan cheese. A false alarm, debunked by WHO itself within hours. It seems useful to provide clarity.

Noncommunicable diseases, the role of WHO-WHO

Non-Communicable Dise ases (NCDs) are rampant at an epidemic level, across five continents, as primary causes of premature mortality and worsening quality of life.

Cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other woes. Serious, often chronic diseases that can be avoided or at least mitigated. Indeed, prevention is a must, considering also that public health is not able to bear the costs of the current epidemic. (1)

Dietary imbalances are considered to be the primary cause of the epidemic spread of these diseases planetwide. The WHO-WHO(World Health Organization) then recommended that member states adopt health policies to restore balance in the diets of populations. Primarily discouraging the consumption ofjunk food (junk-food).

Nutritional profiles have been developed by the WHO, in special guidelines, with the aim of distinguishing food and beverage HFSS (High Fats, Sugars and Sodium). Such as sugary drinks, sweets and


snacks




Imbalanced by excess sugar, fat, salt.




The European Commission




in turn should have adopted nutrient profiles by a deadline that expired ten years ago (!), as required by the regulation on




Nutrition & Health Claims


. (2) For the express purpose of preventing junk food from being advertised as ‘nutritious’ or ‘healthy’ (e.g., Nesquik Opti-Star).

The
lobbies
of
Big Food
However, they succeeded in preventing the European Commission from fulfilling its duties. And consumer associations, in the ten years since, have not even sent Brussels a letter of formal notice. (3)

Extra virgin olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Of all Nutella a bundle?

For years, the Ferrero Group has been fighting public health policies that aspire to mitigate the planetary emergency of non-communicable diseases. At the national, European and global levels.




Sales champions




– Nutella, Kinder, Estathé – are indeed distinguished by excessive contents of



sugars and/or saturated fats

(from palm oil). Totally inadequate to the needs of balanced nutrition and health, of children especially.




The food industry and large-scale retail trade




in Europe have made several commitments on product reformulation as part of the





EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health





.

Instead, Ferrero, instead of revising its recipes, started a campaign of misinformation. A Viral Deception, Viral Deception, (4) aimed at attributing to European and international health policies the hypothetical ambition to harm Parmigiano Reggiano, rather than Parma Ham or extra virgin olive oil.

La
Viral Deception
kicked off with a Nomisma study – funded by Ferrero but formally attributed to Federalimentare and Coldiretti – in which the effects of ‘traffic lights on the label’ were hypothesized on the sales of Parmigiano and Prosciutto di Parma PDO in the British market.

On closer inspection, however, international health policies do not target traditional foods. As they fit into the lifelong diet of their respective populations. As well as offering nutrients (e.g., protein, monounsaturated fatty acids) and micronutrients (minerals, vitamins) that are in any case indispensable.

The World Health Organization – and thus, member states interested in improving the health of their citizens-are instead only concerned with reducing the consumption of nutritionally imbalanced products.(5) Such as Coca-Cola and Nutella. Without demanding their ban, let alone the failure of their respective Corporation.

More simply, the collective interest is geared toward the health of the global population. If possible, even with the help of the aforementioned industrial giants. Who could put an end to Viral Deception and revise their product recipes. For the good of all.

It’s just too bad that many people have fallen for Ferrero’s trap, from Sole 24 Ore, which broke the news, to the director of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium, Riccardo Deserti, and even the Minister of Agriculture Gian Marco Centinaio.

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) Diseases associated with obesity and overweight alone account for an average 25-30% share of overall public health expenditures

(2) See reg. EC 1924/06, Article 4

(3) A letter of formal notice, that is, a formal warning for the Commission to fulfill its duties, would suffice. To then refer the matter to the EU Tribunal, through so-called ‘action for failure to act,’ where the institution fails to comply within the next two months. But European consumers have not yet

(4) The acronym VD, in implying both the concepts of Viral Deception and Veneral Disease, well expresses the danger of widespread deception on a wide scale

(5) For updates on ongoing work at the WHO-Who level, see http://www.who.int/ncds/governance/third-un-meeting/en/