THE EXPERT REPLIES: HOW TO ORIENT OURSELVES IN A SEA OF LABELS AND CLAIMS?
Everything specified on the packaging of food is legally governed, in Europe, by European regulations. Those rules dictate what information should be reported on individual products, in the form of LABELS and CLAIMS, and how they should be reported. Two considerations then start from this point:
- Not everything that is approved, in the field of ingredients and additives, by the competent institutions is actually healthy: more than once, as in other areas where synthetic chemical elements are proposed (pharmaceutical, agro-industrial, materials, etc.), there have been elements admitted to human use for years, perhaps even against the indications of independent studies that showed its danger, until they were finally declared harmful. At times there have been coincidences with the lapse of patents by multinationals, which would therefore have seen the monopoly and consequently the rivers of revenue disappear. Meditate people.
- It’s hard to think that there are no food lobby influences in drafting regulations. Their influence has, in fact, weighed on the regulation of the sector since they existed: in doing so, they have created legal situations that will encourage the development of consumer control plans, based on psychological and/or sensory mechanisms of In this sense, one might wonder why synthetic aromas exist, or are permitted, or compounds of chemical origin which, in addition to causing plausible nutritional concerns, serve only to make something that would otherwise not be attractive to the palate or would be much less attractive to the palate. Or, let us reflect: why is it allowed to sell children’s products with livery of superheroes or famous people, knowing that the purpose of this action is to take into the background the consumer’s assessment of the intrinsic characteristics of the product?
To sum up: the labels are the tricks that the industry uses to “corrupt” the consumer, who unfortunately often and willingly finds himself in the situation of not being able to master the understanding of the subject. This trigger and consolidates a tacit and uninformed dependence on the manufacturers of edible material. Food nutritional information is often so distorted, omitted or distorted that it appears almost useless if not fodder for consumers and their digesting devices.
The lack of transparency unfortunately also concerns the ingredients, so everything that enhances the product is brought into riot at the front of the package, while the incomprehensible or assonant ingredients disappear on the back, where perhaps they are printed in tiny characters and escape from the field of view.
So how can you not get lost in the jungle of labels? Above all, but then does it make sense to try to understand something, risking making it an obsession?
First, we should all be put in a position to better understand the “secrets” of better nutrition (and of course we do not talk about those “suggested” by corporations..) that logically, even without having who knows what basis of reasoning, should be as natural as possible, therefore intact and not artificial. This should be a teaching subject already from kindergartens.
I would like to give you a small suggestion for the verification of the list of ingredients: foods with shorter labels are preferred, because they tend to indicate a less recomposed product; also to prefer those where the whole article is present on as many ingredients as possible. Avoiding even those foods of which not all the ingredients are known could be a practice not to be underestimated, very empirical but with its logical purpose: in doubt, I avoid.
A hand to the consumer could be extended by someone who could evaluate food products in advance, based on intimate knowledge of the logics that regulate their production and sale, and who could highlight what can be the vouchers.
It is precisely from this vision that the 10′ SANO quality mark was born, the result of an independent evaluation of the products, starting from a specification drawn up by the PIUINFORMA Association, aimed at favoring a conscious choice of products even in those consumers who do not have the opportunity to decode their “informative” messages.
… Go on…
Dr. Luisa Gragnoli, Food Technologist
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