Argentina: World’s strongest health food policy laws

A new food and eating habits through legislation was adopted in Argentina on November addressing a comprehensive, evidence-based food policies, including front of package warning labels (FOPL), advertising marketing restrictions and regulation of school environments and food procurement. Since years efforts of many civil society organizations were engaged in fighting and bringing about a restrictive change in the increasingly unhealthy habits and diseases of children and citizens of the country. Through this law, policies were made for packaging that includes FOPL, marketing restrictions and the removal of unhealthy food and drinks from schools. The Health Food Promotion Law was approved by the Chamber of Deputies following a 12-hour debate and supported by a majority. Legislators publicly acknowledged and worldwide nations have applauded, the civil society’s active role in the law’s passage.

The new law was published on November 12,2022 and enacted by decree 782/2021. It is one of the strongest and most comprehensive regulations globally. The law requires ultra-processed products with excess level of sodium, sugar, fats and calories to include black octagons labels on the front of the package. It also includes a mandatory declaration of sugar on the food label, the regulation of health claims (no claims are allowed on products that have warning labels), and the regulation of food marketing and school environments. The marketing regulations prohibit the advertising, promotion and sponsorship of products with at least one octagon warning label, and that are targeted to children under 18. The bill also prohibits the sale and advertisement of these products in schools. Moreover, it states that the National government will prioritize products without warning labels when comparing similar procurement offers. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) nutrient profile model establishes the thresholds for calories and nutrients of concern like sugar, salt and fat. This law considers food and nutritional education in all levels of the school system.

Nutrition and Food Education will be promoted in all levels of the schooling system. This is one of the most important parts of this law, since education is a way to include children and adolescents in subjects like climate change, agroecology, and healthy nutrition, to wake up interest in good eating habits and biodiversity.

Companies that produce products that are high in sugar, calories, sodium and fat are prohibited from advertising these to children or selling them at schools.

The other countries that have joined this fight are Chile, Peru, Mexico and Uruguay which implemented similar food laws.

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