Symbolic dishes of the Mediterranean diet risk disappearing with traffic light labelling
The Consortium for the Protection of the Gorgonzola Cheese joined AFIDOP, the Association of Italian Pdo Cheeses, to express its strong disagreement with the traffic light label that some European countries would like to make compulsory in the single market. The issue was the subject of a meeting held in Rome on 15 March in the presence of all the Consortia concerned and institutions, with the participation of nutritionist and gastroenterologist Luca Piretta and chef Davide Oldani.
Antonio Auricchio, President of AFIDOP and President of the Gorgonzola Consortium, said: “We say no to the Nutri-score and to labels based on reference quantities that are disconnected from daily dietary habits. These misleading tools devalue the image of Pdo and discourage the consumption of our dishes by trivializing the nutritional values of our products. We support and promote correct and complete information to the consumer for a healthy and balanced diet and for this reason we join those in Italy and Europe who consider the Nutri-Score a misleading system for the consumer and urge the public decision-makers to stand firm against the implementation of this proposal”.
Attributing an “unfavourable” colour to products such as cheeses risks being misleading and harmful even from a nutritional point of view, as Prof Piretta explained: “Yes to food education and nutritional awareness, no to the simplistic systems or a green colour that give the idea that you can drink or eat a food at will”.
Davide Oldani, Michelin-starred chef and Ambassador of Italian cuisine in the world, had his say from a purely gastronomic point of view, stating: “Cheeses were part of the diet of our grandparents and great-grandparents and should not be missing from the diets of our grandchildren either. Behind every Pdo cheese there is a whole food and wine culture made up of traditions, people, terroirs and climate that the world envies.”
In addition to the meeting in Rome, AFIDOP and the Consortia of the main Italian Pdo cheeses have promoted a social campaign that focuses on 10 Italian dishes that are symbols of the Mediterranean Diet. They would lose their meaning “WITHOUT” cheese, such as, for example, the Risotto Radicchio and Gorgonzola Pdo which, in addition to being widely used in Italian kitchens, both professional and home, is a perfect mix of carbohydrates, fibre and protein, equally divided between vegetable and animal sources, offering a complete spectrum of amino acids.
Exactly 30 years after the introduction of the list of products with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), requested by Europe itself, if the Nutri-Score were to be approved, it would not only be the consumer who would pay the price, but also the country’s system. It would risk destroying a sector that is worth over 4 billion euros in production, which represents 57% of the entire food industry, more than 2 billion euros in exports, and employs 26 thousand operators. (Source: https://www.qualivita.it/osservatorio/rapporto-ismea-qualivita/ )
Antonio Auricchio talks about Nutriscore on Radio24 during the programme “Mangia come Parli”: https://www.radio24.ilsole24ore.com/programmi/mangia-parli/puntata/i-colli-piacentini-100527-AEmrKyHB (from min. 25′ 50”)