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Food labels, news coming, indeed, already arrived and entered into force on 13 December 2016, so it's time to update because they are excellent news for those who want to shop in an increasingly transparent and aware way. What it eats, how it spends, how much it pollutes.
The new directives are part of a virtuous path of work on Food labels which had already been modified in December 2014 so as to be obligatorily clearer and more legible. Two years ago, moreover, it was required to highlight the presence of allergenic substances, oils and fats used, the date of freezing and other information on the physical state of the ingredients used.
All this attention to the Food labels it is not for the benefit of a few, "label fetishists": according to Coldiretti as many as 96% of Italians consider it very important that they are legible and rich in information, 84% look in particular where the food was processed and produced in question.
Food labels: new rules and information
From 13 December 2016 it is mandatory to declare even more information on Food labels, such as energy value, quantity of fat (of which saturated fatty acids), carbohydrates (of which sugars), proteins and salt, expressed per 100 grams or 100 milliliters of product.
To accommodate consumers, there are those who also add the values per portion, avoiding having to deal with the math on the supermarket shelves. This strong and important improvement was dictated by the rules provided for by Regulation (EU) no. 1169/2011 which wants to indicate on a voluntary basis other elements, such as monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, polyols, starch, fibers and mineral salts or vitamins if contained in significant quantities.
Food labels: examples
Here are some examples of how we should expect to see Food labels from now on.
Food labels: what to read
Everyone certainly has their own needs when choosing a brand instead of another or a product rather than a similar one, but there is information that, in the cauldron of numbers and acronyms, are to be considered more important than others for evaluating the quality of our diet. Usually the sales denomination must appear, and must be unique, not misleading.
The list of ingredients must not be missing, and we must look for it in it any additives, the deadlines and the methods of conservation. Today more than ever, it is essential to know who the producer is.
Food labels: what to avoid
We are wary of Food labels which do not tell us exactly what is contained but are vague: "cheese", for example, means nothing: which cheese? The same happens with aromas: we check whether they are natural aromas or not, there is a big difference. Not the best when a food is too rich in additives, better check that there are in small quantities.
Reduced how much, it depends on what we are analyzing. They are substances authorized by Italian law, but only in some cases and in some quantities, there are dyes, emulsifiers, antioxidants, sweeteners and many others with abstruse names that we have the right to see declared on the Food labels.
Food labels: symbols
There are several symbols that can appear next to numbers and abbreviations, among the most common on Food labels there is the one that indicates gluten-free foods, the crossed ear, a registered symbol owned by the Italian Celiac Association (AIC). For foods permitted by Islamic law there is the Halal symbol while for those who follow a vegan diet, all products that are not of animal origin and do not contain derivatives must be reported.
If on Food labels glass and fork appear, these are objects of a material suitable for contact with what we eat. Also concerning the packaging, the symbol with three large arrows chasing each other and the one with three narrow arrows chasing each other. And then there is that FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) which identifies products containing wood from forests managed in a correct and responsible manner, in an environmental but also social and economic sense.
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