Argentina passes law that requires labeling of food to improve nutrition

The Argentine Parliament passed into law a bill that requires a frontal and visible labeling of food, with messages that warn about its excessive fat, sodium and sugar content and its calories as a way to promote a healthier diet.

The initiative, which had already been approved in the Senate almost a year ago, received around midnight on Tuesday the approval of the Chamber of Deputies for 200 votes in favor, 22 votes against and 16 abstentions.

The so-called law to promote healthy eating, promoted by the ruling party and which has been questioned by the food industry, sets guidelines for healthy eating and establishes the placement of a series of front seals on ultra-processed food packaging.

The label, in the shape of a black octagon and with white letters, should warn of excess critical nutrients, such as sodium, sugars, and saturated fats, a message that seeks to help fight obesity, hypertension and heart risks.

The norm, similar to the one in force in Chile, also establishes that products containing sweeteners or caffeine will have to inform that their consumption is not recommended for children. On the other hand, the law prohibits commercial advertising directed at children and adolescents of products with warning stamps.

BUSINESS REPAIRS

The new law has been questioned in certain aspects by business entities. The Coordinator of the Food Products Industries (COPAL), which brings together 14,500 companies in the sector, questioned that the law departs from the advances in Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) to design a regional standard on labeling that will the industry will result "fundamental" for the purposes of commercial exchange and ongoing international negotiations.

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For its part, the Argentine Chamber of Commerce of the United States in Argentina (AmCham) said that it agrees with promoting healthy lifestyles and improving education and communication about food, but warned that the norm generate "obstacles" to trade and production by imposing a warning system that "becomes a punitive, confusing, partial and inequitable model".

 

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