The creator of Nutriscore, Serge Hercberg, is back attacking Italy and its highest officials. This time the target is Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who is guilty of taking a stand against Irish labeling on spirits and defending one of the products of excellence of Made in Italy. For Hercberg, the Italian minister's statements are scientifically wrong and irresponsible, fake news that replicate the attacks -the French researcher claims- against nutriscore, in disregard of public health and in defense of pure economic interests.
So he writes on Twitter:
"Statement by Italian Foreign Minister Tajani against Ireland's proposed regulation for labeling alcoholic products "For us, a glass of red wine, all doctors say, is also good for the heart. Scientifically totally wrong and irresponsible..."
"Same kind of arguments used by the Italian government to torpedo #NutriScore and prevent its adoption at the EU level: denial of science, total disregard for public health, spreading fake news, defending purely economic interests at the expense of citizens' health..."
Immediate responses from Italian institutions, both majority and opposition, and agricultural organizations:
"Now out of arguments, Serge Hercberg has only to attack those who have proven that his color labeling system does not work. A model that has been abandoned even by Europe where an alternative is being sought and which even France itself no longer seems convinced of." Thus Undersecretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Sovereignty and Forestry Luigi D'Eramo. "We reiterate what we have always said: a glass of wine is not only not bad for your health, but is an integral part of our Mediterranean Diet, a Unesco heritage and recognized as the best in the world. Hercberg should get over it. Before accusing Italy of lobbying, let him explain to us why his Nutriscore promotes foods from ultra-processed multinationals created ad hoc in laboratories to get the best score, but of which nothing is known about the effects on health. We defend our excellence and all the Made in, natural foods, linked to our territories and that have allowed us Italians to have among the highest life expectancy," D'Eramo concludes.
"The positions of @HercbergS and in particular those in support of a fallacious system with a marketing tool character such as his Nutriscore can only be explained in two ways: either he is totally invaded, or there are huge interests that push him to insist on this path."
Thus on Twitter Cesare Mazzetti, president of Qualivita, regarding the attacks by Nutriscore founder Serge Hercberg on Minister Tajani and the Italian government.
"Nutriscore: unjustified attack on symbols of the Mediterranean diet unacceptable. Full support for the government in defense of Made in Italy".
So on Twitter Confagricoltura.
"Professor Hercberg, inventor of Nutriscore, attacks the Italian government to hide the failure of 'his' label, which is gathering more and more criticism in Europe. Put your mind at rest: we will always defend Made in Italy. The Mediterranean diet is good for us and they envy us all over the world." This is how Senate Vice-President Gian Marco Centinaio (League) retorts on social media to the French epidemiologist, believed to be the father of Nutriscore, after he challenged Minister Tajani's words and the government's positions on alarmist labels for wine and food.
"Dear Hercberg, after losing the battle with his absurd labeling system, is back at it again by espousing the crazy Irish decision to declare (or rather label) wine as carcinogenic.
For Hercberg, Italian and European agri-food culture, food and excellence are those created in laboratories or hypertransformed. This future, which leads to food taken through Matrix-style pills, we opposed when we were in government and we will oppose it from the opposition. Because on these issues there is no majority and opposition, there is only Italy."
Thus on facebook former Minister of Agriculture Stefano Patuanelli commenting on statements posted on twitter in favor of the label on wine by Ireland and against the Italian government.
"Poor Hercberg, seeing himself one meter from the finish line and puncturing his tires must be bad for him. But seeing him gnaw is a satisfaction I share with all Italians and all Europeans who love and believe in traditional foods."
Thus to AGRICOLAE Senate Agriculture, Industry and Trade Committee Chairman Luca De Carlo
"The statements made by the alleged scientist Hercberg against Minister Tajani and our government are extremely serious and dangerous, accusing us of spreading fake news and instrumentalizing our just protest against Ireland's choice to label alcoholic products including wine as harmful, for our own economic return." Forza Italia MP and vice-chair of the Environment Committee in the House Francesco Battistoni said in a note about Serge Hercberg's claims about Italy. "Even more unbelievable and out of all politeness," he continues, "is to claim that our calls in the EU by Ministers Tajani and Lollobrigida toward fair and correct competition are the result of artificial assumptions without any scientific basis. "All our legitimate observations, on the other hand, are supported by international studies that are much more credible than Hercberg's theories on food, which, speaking of partisan interests, over the years has tried to destroy the Italian agrifood economy with its Nutriscore, favoring multinationals and foreign companies with the sole intent of homologating our culture and agrifood history with that of other countries lacking our excellence. I hope," Battistoni concludes, "that a formal apology will be made to our government and our ministers in the appropriate venues for the improbable statements of this scientist who knows nothing about food and nutrition.