Vegetable oils and fats are an important part of a balanced and healthy diet for many reasons. For an overview of their benefits, see FEDIOL brochure here. They are also an important ingredient in domestic food preparation, where they can constitute a healthy choice. In this context it is important for vegetable oil producers to be able to inform consumers about the benefits of individual vegetable oils with different fat compositions so that they may be able to select a balanced diet.
The dietary role and importance of vegetable oils (e.g. main dietary source of unsaturated fatty acids) have been acknowledged by EFSA in its report on the setting of nutrient profiles for food bearing nutrition and health claims (EFSA, 2008).
Under Regulation 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims, the Commission was tasked to set up EU nutrient profiles by January 2009. This has not been done for a number of political and technical reasons. For that purpose, the Commission has launched at the end of 2015 a Roadmap on the REFIT Evaluation of the EU Nutrition and Health Claims legislation, trying to see whether such EU nutrient profiles were still needed in the new EU regulatory frame. FEDIOL provided feedback to this first consultation. This exercise is being followed up by a full Commission evaluation, involving detailed stakeholder consultations. FEDIOL continues to participate actively in this issue.
In parallel, noticing the multiplication of national initiatives like the Nutriscore system and its uptake in other countries, FEDIOL has further analysed the Nutriscore to understand how it is implemented for the category of bottled vegetable oils and fats. With the current system, FEDIOL has reached the conclusion that it does not enable a proper comparison of bottled vegetable oils and fats within their category. A detailed FEDIOL assessment explaining why this is not the case is available here.
FEDIOL has developed a proposal to align with existing EU health and nutrition claims and with WHO and national dietary guidelines and is available to further discuss this and other proposals to achieve a better consistency of a front-of-pack labelling, like Nutriscore, with international and national nutrition recommendations.