A statement, led by FIC Argentina, calling on Latin American governments to implement effective food labelling policies to tackle the alarming increase of obesity and overweight in the continent has attracted support from over 100 civil society organisations and public health experts from around the world, including the NCD Alliance.
Obesity has been identified as a leading cause of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) globally. According to a recent report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), one out of three children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean are overweight, while half of the adult population is overweight.
Most countries in the region do not provide enough nutritional information on the package of food and beverage products. The World Health Organization, FAO and PAHO have recognised front-of-package warning labelling as a necessary intervention to discourage the consumption of ultra-processed products, helping consumers to identify more easily less healthy products and influencing them to make healthier choices.
To date, Chile, Uruguay and Peru have already implemented front of package food labelling with nutritional warnings, featuring simple and accessible information about the nutritional content of food and drinks. Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia are currently assessing the most effective policies to implement.
In light of this, over 100 civil society organisations and experts on public health have joined forces to call on Latin American governments to:
- implement effective front-of-package food labelling policies with nutritional warnings to facilitate consumers’ right to information, health and healthy diet;
- base their decision-making on the best available scientific evidence without the interference of any conflict of interest; and
- prioritise public health over the commercial interests of the food and beverage industry.