Red for Danger?



The UK Government has rightly stressed, in the last months, the importance of improving the health of British citizens. But the solutions and suggestions are actually working at the expense of Italian culinary excellence. England has decided to decrease the intake of certain nutrients: fat, salt and sugar. This project may seem good, but instead of proposing a necessary and irreplaceable method of food education, it decided to put a traffic light on the labels!

Example of a UK label for a burger.

The Minister of English Health, Anna Soubry, invited the English supermarkets to use, from this year, the traffic light colors for nutritional directions. Red means danger, yellow means dangerous on average, green means good. On the labels, though, there arenai??i??t the recommended daily amounts. In addition to this, the recommended servings should indicate the value of the calories and nutrients referred to the daily requirement. In other words, these directions are too general to be properly understood and applied by normal people, i.e. without specialized nutrition knowledge.

Aggravating this situation, the British national health system decided, for a homogeneous representation of the nutritional qualities, to create a unique official direction system. The reason why this system can harm the Italian excellences is that extra virgin olive oil, for example, would receive a big red danger dot, corresponding to an unlikely portion of up to 100 grams instead of the usual 15-30. The same thing would happen to cheese, meat, sweet, etc. And our excellent Italian products and those of the Southern Europe would receive a red light. This system, that is penalizing just for one category of products, had already been rejected not only from Italy but also from the entire European Union, which had suggested to enact a campaign of nutritional education for citizens, especially for children.

The EU has also proposed other regulations, such as exposing on food labels the nutritional information, including their origin. We hope that this educational need for a the proper food consumption will be an emphasized suggestion, when in Brussels all the leaders of the Scientific Committee of the Food Chain of the 28 countries will join, as Italy previously suggested. Foods such as mortadella , olive oil , sauces , Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Parma or San Daniele ham, gorgonzola cheese, mozzarella, Taleggio cheese, sweets, could be removed from the English tables. The British could do what the European Union recommends and what Italy has been doing and implementing for many years: nutritional education programs for schools and the medical profession. This would make everything easier and enjoyable. It would include the portions to be introduced, their calories, nutrients, especially their antioxidants.

The British are making a mistake not understanding Ai??that these characteristics of Italian food have made our people the most long-living in the world.