In Chile, the labeling helped 20% of the products improve their nutritional composition.
The Government, at the request of the Ministries of Productive Development, Health and Agriculture, promotes a frontal labeling on food based on a warning system, with the aim of helping to counteract “the epidemic of overweight and obesity that afflicts our country “.
The Secretary of Internal Commerce, Paula Español, told Télam that “the nutrients warned will be sodium, saturated fat and sugars; the calculation base will be made on 100 grams and a legend on sweeteners will be included.”
Front-end labeling aims for the population to be informed easily and quickly about the harmful health properties of the food they eat.
There are three labeling systems and the one that Argentina chose is the warning system, which consists of the presence of one or more graphic images on the front of the package that indicate if the product has higher than recommended levels of sodium, fat and sugar.
(FW) According to data from the Second National Nutrition and Health Survey (ENNyS2), in our country 7 out of 10 adults and 4 out of 10 children and adolescents between 5 and 17 years of age are overweight.
The labeling format remains to be agreed upon, and the options contemplated are black stamps (used by Chile and Uruguay) or a magnifying glass (model approved last week by Brazil).
The president of the Argentine Federation of Nutrition Graduates (Fagran), Andrea Graciano, argued that “the most effective system is that of warnings with the black stamp format because it provides information in the clearest and easiest way to understand.”
“There is scientific evidence that shows that this system has the best results, especially in children and the population with lower economic resources and educational level. In Chile, the consumption of products with excess fats, sugars and salt decreased, which are the ones that go hand in hand with being overweight and non-communicable diseases, “added the specialist.
According to data from the Second National Nutrition and Health Survey (ENNyS2), in our country 7 out of 10 adults and 4 out of 10 children and adolescents between 5 and 17 years old are overweight.
For Español, the initiative means “expanding and defending the rights to health and information” because “it is a very effective policy to advance the epidemic of overweight and obesity that afflicts the entire world.”
Likewise, the official asserted “that 70% of the population over 13 years of age does not read the nutritional information on the containers” for which “it is the responsibility of the State to guarantee access to clear, simple and precise information and to encourage consumers to choose foods of better nutritional quality “.
Countries such as Chile, Uruguay or Peru were pioneers at the continental level in the implementation of this instrument endorsed by entities such as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) or the United Nations for Food and Agriculture (FAO).
The head of Food Security and Nutrition of FAO in Argentina, Elizabeth Kleiman, told Télam that “the region has been making progress on this issue”, and considered that “it is very good that Argentina has a firm will to consolidate a realistic project that integrates all the actors involved. “
The project prepared by the Executive has already been presented in the National Food Commission (Conal) and in Mercosur.
In this sense, Español stated that “we are promoting it at the Mercosur level because it is the space in which we are economically inserted and that we want to sustain and deepen over time.”
However, he explained that “the deadlines at the regional level are often not conditional on the speed required for certain issues. That is why we are also working in the field of national discussion, which is Conal.
During the week, in a plenary session of Senate commissions that debated the unification of 13 bills on the subject, the president of the Coordinator of the Food Products Industries (Copal), Daniel Funes de Rioja, assured “to share the aims and purposes with the Executive Power “but asked” to take into account the different realities. “
“We are not opposed to labeling, as long as it does not tend to demonization,” added the leader, and considered it inappropriate “to copy models that demonize food and do not facilitate access or knowledge about its qualities.”
A survey released by FAO on the Chilean experience indicated that labeling stamps influenced 91.6% of consumers, either to “choose foods with fewer stamps (67.8%), not to buy food with stamps ( 9.7%), or buy less than what you would have bought if the product had not had stamps (14.1%) “.
Further, The work pointed out that the labeling helped 20% of the products improve their nutritional composition to reduce the presence of warning stamps on the packaging, resulting in better food quality.
The owner of Fagran assured that “although the frontal labeling does not seek the reformulation of the products, it indirectly ends up causing the industry to do so to continue selling, since in the long run fewer and fewer people consume products of lower nutritional quality.
For his part, Español highlighted that “with this project there are no losers and it is not designed against anyone; the industry is part and has an active and fundamental role.”
“We bet that they readjust the ingredients of their products, so that there is an ever greater supply of food of better nutritional quality. In all countries of the world the demand for healthier products is increasing,” concluded the official.