The idea came from the Committee of the Regions (CoR), an EU institution with an advisory role, and popped up during its Euro-Mediterranean regional and local assembly (ARLEM) plenary.
In a report on addressing food security for people living in the Mediterranean region, the deputy mayor of the French city Nice, Agnès Rampal, proposed the development of a “Mediterranean products or Mediterranean diet label with a specific set of criteria and a broad communication plan.”
The model would follow the French system of quality indications Signes Officiels de Qualité et Origine (SIQO) used, for instance, to show on the front-of-pack label if a product originates from organic farming or has received the protected geographical indication (PGI) from the EU.
According to its advocates, this new label will also guarantee that Mediterranean products are nutritious and healthy.
The Mediterranean diet is mainly inspired by the dietary habits of Greece, southern Italy and Spain and has been recently praised by the Food and agriculture organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
It consists of a large intake of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits and vegetables, with only moderate amounts of fish, dairy and wine, as well as limited red meat and poultry.
In the context of the EU’s flagship food policy, the Farm to Fork strategy (F2F), the European Commission is expected to put forward a proposal for a harmonised food labelling scheme that will also consider the nutritional aspects of foodstuffs.
However, the labelling framework with more chances to get Commission nod, the colour-coded Nutri-score, developed and backed by France, is seen as penalising some of the core products of the Mediterranean diet.