On the occasion of Europe Day, celebrated today, 9 May, an initiative of consumer protection movements is launched under the auspices of InfoCons Italia consumer protection. The initiative aims at traffic-lighting the labels of agri-food products, in the context of international consumer movement and taking into account the difficulty of understanding information on products. The traffic-lighting initiative, launched today – Europe Day – supports citizens as consumers, regardless of the language they speak.
In the context of citizens’ mobility at European and global level, it is becoming imperative to provide them with correct, direct, rapid, transparent and easy access to information on agri-food products and to make informed choices. The Europe Day initiative therefore encompasses the following concepts:
InfoScore is calculated based on the number of food additives in a product, and is a system that ranks agri-food products, taking into account the synthetic additives added to the food. InfoScore has been developed to meet the needs of consumers and to support them in making informed decisions, taking into account the clear indication of nutritional values and the number of food additives in the product. Thus, InfoScore takes into account the number of food additives as well as the nutritional values of a product (energy value, fat, fatty acids, sugar, salt, etc.).
Pro InfoScore is calculated based on the number of food additives and also takes into account the degree of processing that the food has undergone. Thus, the Pro InfoScore system determines the classification of products from unprocessed or minimally processed foods to ultra-processed foods. The following categories are considered for the classification of food products according to Pro InfoScore:
-unprocessed or minimally processed foods (Unprocessed (or natural) foods are edible parts of plants (seeds, fruits, leaves, stems, roots) or animals, as well as fungi, algae and water, after being separated from nature).
-processed culinary ingredients (processed culinary ingredients, such as oils, butter, sugar and salt, are substances derived from Group 1 foods or from nature by processes including pressing, refining, grinding, milling and drying. )
-processed foods (bottled vegetables, canned fish, fruit in syrup, cheeses and freshly baked bread, mainly obtained by adding salt, oil, sugar or other Group 2 substances to Group 1 foods)
-Ultra-processed foods (soft drinks, sweet or savoury packaged snacks, reconstituted meat products and pre-prepared frozen meals are not modified foods, but formulations made largely or entirely from food-derived substances and additives, with little or no intact Group 1 foods).
The Eco InfoScore is calculated on the basis of the number of food additives, also taking into account the environmental impact of the products. Citizens as consumers can therefore make informed decisions, taking the environmental component into account. To determine the Eco InfoScore, the following are taken into account: production stages (agriculture, processing, packaging, transport, distribution and consumption), environmental impact indicators (climate change/carbon footprint, ozone depletion, ionising radiation, land, water and energy use; air, marine and freshwater pollution and resource depletion).
At the same time, on the occasion of Europe Day, InfoCons is launching the unique European-wide Global Carbon Point Certification Programme.
In the context of a continuing national and international development of the carbon footprint issue, as well as the worsening global effects of climate change, consumers need to be protected, informed and educated about the carbon footprint of products and services, as well as everything around us (buildings, offices, homes, highways, streets, etc.). To this end, the certification of the carbon footprint of products, services and everything around us will comply with existing criteria in international standards and will be calculated using the most accurate emission factors possible.
The InfoCons initiative is in the spirit of the European Green Deal and in line with the principles and strategy of the European Union on Environmental Protection, Circular Economy and Eco-design. This initiative is in line with the European Commission’s series of proposals adapting EU climate, energy, transport and taxation policies to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% below 1990 levels by 2030 and to make Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050.
What is carbon footprint?
The carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced along the value chain. The carbon footprint is not only calculated at the entity level, but can also be calculated at the product level. In other words, we could know exactly how much each individual finished product has polluted, from the extraction of the raw material to and including its recycling.