According to the regulations of the Law for the Promotion of Healthy Food, this August 20, large companies must begin to implement the Frontal Warning Labeling on their products. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have a deadline to do so until February 2023. The appearance of the stamps will be gradual and progressive.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

When did we start to see the seals?

As of this August 20, the products of large companies that have an excess of critical nutrients -such as sugars, sodium, saturated fats, total fats and calories-, must display on the main face of the container one or more warning stamps with the “EXCESS IN” badge. Also, those foods that contain sweeteners and/or caffeine, must present the precautionary legends: “CONTAINS SWEETENERS, NOT RECOMMENDED FOR CHILDREN” and/or “CONTAINS CAFFEINE, AVOID IN CHILDREN”.

In this way, the central axis of the regulation that seeks to protect and guarantee the right to information in consumer relations begins to be implemented. This is the first stage of a gradual process, in which the cut-off points are made more flexible, until reaching (in a second stage) the maximum values set by the Nutrient Profile of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Tool adopted by law to classify and determine products that contain an excessive amount of critical nutrients.

In this way, the central axis of the regulation that seeks to protect and guarantee the right to information in consumer relations begins to be implemented. This is the first stage of a gradual process, in which the cut-off points are made more flexible, until reaching (in a second stage) the maximum values set by the Nutrient Profile of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Tool adopted by law to classify and determine products that contain an excessive amount of critical nutrients.

According to the PAHO profile, the products that should be classified using its criteria are processed (such as fruit in syrup, cheese, or foods preserved in brine) and ultra-processed (such as sweet or salty snacks, cookies, ice cream, candies), either which are the ones that normally contain high amounts of sugars, sodium and fats. For their part, those minimally processed or unprocessed products will not bear stamps. Examples of this are fresh fruits and vegetables, dried noodles, rice, legumes or the exceptions provided by the regulations: common sugar, vegetable oils, dried fruits and common table salt.

Now, what happens to the products that we know have an excess of critical nutrients and that on August 20 are going to continue on the shelves without their corresponding seals?

These cases, which unfortunately will not be few, must be explained in one of the following ways:

1- It can be a product made by an SME, for which the first stage begins in February 2023.

2- It may be a product from a large company that has a production date prior to August 20, which according to the law may be kept on the market until stock is exhausted.

3- Or, it may be a product of a large company, with a production date after August 20, which has obtained an extension.

This last case is the one that generates the greatest concern and uncertainty in civil society. As indicated by the Provision of the National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT), the possibility of requesting an extension only exists for the first stage and only once. This deadline expired on July 20 for large companies.

For the purposes of said request, companies must declare and specify the products for which they make the order, as well as the specific reasons why they found limitations in meeting the established deadlines. In this framework, the ANMAT can resolve by approving or rejecting. If the extension request is approved, large companies have a maximum period to put the seals on their products, until February 2023.

Something important to note is that the regulations do not provide for the opening of this information, so in the face of secrecy, we decided to present a request for access to public information. Despite the efforts, the ANMAT replied that it could not provide us with these data as they are confidential. This decision, unfortunately, limits the possibility that civil society can be an active agent in monitoring the implementation of the law.

However, after our request, the ANMAT published a statement informing that as of July 27, 2,658 applications had already been received (encompassing a total of 236 companies), of which around 35% had been approved. However, the statement says nothing about: which companies requested an extension and why, on which products the extension was granted and the criteria for accepting or rejecting them.

This means that we will not know if those products that do not have seals, is because they obtained the extension or because they are in fact not complying with the norm. We need better transparency standards to be ensured throughout the implementation process.

What about the rest of the components of the law?

Meanwhile, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the law not only introduces the system of “warning stamps” that will allow us to know what we eat. The seal is part of this standard that seeks to address the problem of healthy eating in a comprehensive and cross-cutting manner. Thus, the Law also contains provisions on: “Promotion, Advertising and Sponsorship”, “Education and Healthy Environments” and “Public Purchases”.

Let’s review each one and see why we say that the correct implementation of the seals is essential for full compliance with the standard:

  • School environments

According to the regulatory decree, the Ministry of Health must coordinate with the Ministry of Education and the Federal Council of Education to include in the school curriculum minimum contents of nutritional food education and guarantee that schools are healthy spaces or free of stamps. In other words, no product with at least one warning seal or precautionary legend may be offered, marketed, promoted, advertised or sponsored in educational establishments in the country.

The corresponding regulations have not been issued on this aspect. Until now, the Ministry has only advanced in the incorporation of courses on Healthy Eating in the teacher training courses.

  • Advertising, promotion and sponsorship

The labeling law prohibits the advertising, promotion and sponsorship of all those products that contain at least one (1) warning seal and that is directed especially at children and adolescents.

Likewise, it establishes that those products that contain a warning seal cannot include complementary nutritional information on their packaging, endorsement seals from scientific societies or civil associations, children’s characters, animations, celebrities, athletes, interactive elements, gifts, games, digital downloads. , etc.

According to the regulatory decree, the ANMAT has the duty to establish and dictate the complementary regulations that facilitate the implementation and control of these provisions. However, this body has not disclosed the implementation and control mechanisms that will be used to guarantee compliance with these provisions.

  • Public purchases

On this aspect, the Ministry of Health must coordinate with the National Procurement Office to guarantee that the National State, given the same convenience, prioritizes contracting those products that do not have warning stamps. This provision has significant relevance. But we still do not know how this articulation will take place, nor what will be understood by “equal convenience” or “prioritizing”.

It is important to highlight that to guarantee the full application of all aspects of the law throughout the country, the work and political will of the provinces is necessary. Either for the dictation of complementary norms that are necessary, as for the control and surveillance in their territories.

 

More Information

Authors

María Laura Fons

Maga Merlo Vijarra

Contact

Maga Merlo Vijarra, magamerlov@fundeps.org 

The tobacco industry continues to meddle in public policy. Argentina still has not ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Civil Society Organizations issued a Public Declaration warning about the importance of guaranteeing non-interference by the tobacco industry in health decisions.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

From civil society organizations, through the signing of a declaration, we request the non-intervention of the tobacco industry in the design and execution of public health policies -among them the advance with the complete prohibition of promotion, advertising and sponsorship of tobacco products-and the ratification of the FCTC, understanding that said treaty grants the States key tools in the fight against smoking.

There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the interests of the tobacco industry and the interests of public health; because it produces and promotes products whose harmful consequences have been amply demonstrated by scientific evidence.

For more than 80 years, the industry has been deploying its strategies to interfere in the establishment and application of tobacco control policies. These tactics, which seek to promote tobacco use, are targeting increasingly younger populations, and existing regulations are often ineffective in dealing with them.

All of this occurs within a framework that seeks to incorporate new tobacco and nicotine products into the market, in order to position them as part of the solution to an epidemic that the industry itself generates and that claims the lives of almost 8 millions of people around the world. Thus, these products come to position themselves as one more strategy that seeks to undermine the policies achieved in terms of tobacco control.

Likewise, Argentina is one of the few countries in the world that has not yet ratified the first public health treaty on tobacco control, a key tool in guaranteeing transparency and the non-intervention of the tobacco industry in health policies. But why is the ratification of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) important to guarantee non-interference by the industry?

The FCTC is the first global public health treaty, which came to give a global response to the tobacco epidemic. The treaty provides for various strategies aimed at reducing the supply, demand, and harm caused by tobacco products, including a complete ban on tobacco marketing, increased tobacco taxes, and other measures. But it also expressly establishes the protection of public policies and tobacco control against commercial interests and others created by the tobacco industry.

 

Contact

Agustina Mozzoni, agustinamozzoni@fundeps.org

The tobacco industry does not sleep and constantly reinvents itself: from new supposedly healthy products, to the ways of advertising them and reaching more and different audiences. We tell you in this note what are the main strategies and scapegoats used to convince you that these products are not only healthy, but even ensure a life full of success and luxury.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

NEW PRODUCTS ON SOCIAL NETWORKS

When it comes to tobacco companies, renovation and reinvention are never lacking to maximize their profits, sell new products and attract more and more consumers, mainly children and young people. Faced with this, it is essential to be able to identify the main platforms for disseminating these products and the misleading and false advertising messages.

Based on a survey we carried out on social networks – a great platform for disseminating new tobacco and nicotine products – we identified different techniques and strategies to convince consumers that the new products are attractive and even healthy.

First of all, the tobacco companies try to sell their new products, such as the electronic cigarette, as something innovative, different and even better than the traditional cigarette. Through the use of hashtags such as #Vapearsalvavidas and #Vapearnoesfumar, the tobacco industry seeks to “wash” its traditional image of an unhealthy industry. In this way, the vape is presented as non-toxic or harmful to health, and the World Health Organization and various studies have shown that this is far from being the case.

PUBLICATION POSITIONING THE VAPE AS DAMAGE REDUCED

 

PUBLICATION RELATED TO FOODS TO IDENTIFY THE FLAVORS

On the other hand, tobacco companies take advantage of the image of famous people and influencers to promote their products and increase the level of their sales. What is the goal of this strategy? Associate the use of electronic cigarettes with success and with hegemonic lifestyles, to convince us that if we buy these products, we can also access a life full of leisure and luxury.

PUBLICATION WITH IMAGES OF CELEBRITIES

Other strategies to strengthen your advertising presence on social networks consist of the use of memes and the launch of promos and raffles. Through these tools, tobacco companies carry out fun and attractive marketing campaigns for social network users, using a familiar, visual and eye-catching language to sell their products.

PUBLICATIONS OF PROMOS AND SWEEPSTAKES

It is urgent that this type of strategies, campaigns and misleading advertising be unmasked, so as not to create or spread the consumption of products made with tobacco and nicotine, which are harmful to health, and which put youth and children at particular risk.

THE NEW PRODUCTS IN GRAPHIC MEDIA AND TV

Although without a doubt the main means of dissemination of these new products are social networks, TV and graphic media escape our clutches. The following graphs, obtained from our survey, show their presence on these platforms.

Percentage of news connotations found in television media coverage.

Percentage of news connotations found in graphic media coverage.

Distribution of news in graphic media according to the provinces where they were published.

Media coverage between 2019 – 2022 found with the selected keywords, by province. The national average is represented by the orange horizontal line (national average= 11).

Evolution over time of the graphic media coverage found with the selected keywords, depending on whether it is national or provincial media.

Evolution over time of television media coverage found with the selected keywords.

 

More Information

Author

Sofía Armando

Contact

Agustina Mozzoni, agustinamozzoni@fundeps.org

 

This content is financially supported by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) on behalf of STOP, a global tobacco industry monitoring initiative. The content is completely independent from an editorial point of view.

 

 

 

It is not new that, based on different marketing strategies, the tobacco industry has been making us believe for more than 80 years that consuming its products will make us more cool, have more success in our lives or see ourselves much more attractive. for the sole fact of smoking. However, these are not the only tactics they use to stay in the market.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

Although there is evidence about how harmful tobacco is, there is still a lot of work to be done regarding its regulation. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), it is known that tobacco kills up to half of the people who consume it, and each year more than 8 million people die from it. More than 7 million of these deaths are due to direct consumption and about 1.2 million are due to the exposure of non-smokers to second-hand smoke.

One of the causes of these statistics is that tobacco companies use various interference actions. What does this mean? Who use a wide range of tactics and strategies (direct or indirect) that interfere with the establishment and application of tobacco control policies. Many times they are clear and easy to identify, but in most cases, they are not. That is why in this note, we tell you what are some of the interference strategies that can be observed in our country so that you do not believe it…

How does the industry interfere in our country?

Following the criteria of the Regional Interference Index, (a global survey that was supported by STOP and in which more than 20 Latin American NGOs participated), and reviewing national public databases, the following interference strategies were listed by part of the tobacco industry:

  1. Lobby: It is called in this way when members of the tobacco industry carry out permanent and sustained lobbying on national officials, by requesting meetings. This can be corroborated by checking the open database of the Single Audience Registry. Although the greatest lobbying activity is generally linked to tax pressure, the commercialization of “new products” in Argentina is also an issue that is brought up in conversations between senior staff of tobacco companies and national officials.
    Through the analysis of the databases of audience records, it can be seen that the representation of the two main tobacco companies operating in Argentina (British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International) doubled in recent years (2004 to date ); and from 2017 to date alone, 34 formal meetings were held between industry representatives and national government officials. In addition, these meetings were held more and more frequently: as of 2016, the time between meetings was shortened: from meeting every 7 and a half months; lobbyists and officials began to meet every 4 months.
    At the provincial level there are no open records on the officials’ agendas.
  2. Economic pressure. The industry asks to lower taxes under threat of putting at risk the future of the companies and the jobs that depend on them: executive positions of the tobacco companies and spokespersons of the industry claim for the “tax pressure”. In turn, provincial officials and national and provincial legislators put pressure on alleged delays in the transfer of resources through the Tobacco Fund, which in practice is a subsidy for tobacco production.
    56% of the hearings held between September 2016 and March 2022 in official offices to deal with issues related to tobacco, were motivated by the claim for marketing taxes or production subsidies.
  3. Conflict of interests. It is configured when representatives of the tobacco industry and/or public officials have personal interests that interfere when making decisions. In this sense, according to the Regional Interference Index, a very common practice is the “revolving door”. This term refers to when officials (current or retired) become part of the tobacco industry; or when former industry employees accept government positions (positions, of course, from which they have the power to regulate the sector in which they once worked).
  4. Unnecessary forms of interaction. Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which constitutes a standard on the matter, defines the “necessary” interactions between the government and the tobacco industry: the interaction between the parties should take place only when and in to the extent strictly necessary to enable effective regulation of the tobacco industry and tobacco products. In this case, these interactions should be fully transparent and, as far as possible, carried out in public (such as public hearings). In addition, everything must be recorded in public records. All interactions between the tobacco industry and public bodies that do not respect these conditions, we call, by contrast, as unnecessary interactions.
    In this sense, in Argentina “alliances have been created to combat the illicit trade of tobacco products” and in this framework a public entity has emerged that has explicit links with the tobacco industries: the Civil Association of Anti-Piracy. This association assumed the spokesperson for the tobacco companies by raising before national authorities the “scourge of piracy” and “evasion in the cigarette sector and the taxability of new products”; allowing them to maintain interactions that we can classify as “unnecessary”.
  5. Promotion of the tobacco industry through “socially responsible” activities. It consists of influencing the public agenda through corporate social responsibility programs. Currently, the tobacco industry deploys eight programs in the country under this umbrella, a scheme that allows it to link economically with civil society entities and politically with provincial government leaders.
  6. Sabotaging legislative processes. Argentina still has not ratified the WHO Framework Convention for tobacco control through an act of Congress. A survey of the databases of the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Senators of the Nation reveals that, from 2003 to the current legislative period, 33 bills were entered –15 in the Senate and 18 in the Deputies– postulating adhesion to the Framework Agreement, without any of them managing to reach the plenary.

What conclusions can we draw?

The data collected exposes the power that the tobacco industry has in our country, and how they can exert pressure so that tobacco control policies are slow in coming or ineffective. In addition, it must be added that all this is taking place in a context of pressure to be able to incorporate new tobacco and nicotine products into the market.

Although advertising plays a crucial role in the generation and maintenance of the smoking habit, and progress has been made in its regulation, only three Argentine provinces have a total ban. We need to be able to clearly identify how the tobacco industry interferes, preventing advances in regulations on the subject.

It is essential, for example, that Argentina ratify the Framework Agreement for Tobacco Control; since it proposes comprehensive strategies that allow working on health policies that make it possible to reduce the consumption of tobacco and nicotine. Implementing the measures of the Framework Convention and giving them time to produce results is the most effective approach to address this epidemic.

 

More Information

Author

Lourdes Aparicio

Contact

Agustina Mozzoni, agustinamozzoni@fundeps.org

This content is financially supported by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) on behalf of STOP, a global tobacco industry monitoring initiative. The content is completely independent from an editorial point of view.

On May 12, the public consultation ends where the proposal is evaluated presented by civil society to update Article 155 tris of the Code Argentine Food Code, which regulates the presence of Trans Fats in marketed foods, and thus reduce their content and eliminate partially hydrogenated oils. The organizations invite the
population to support the proposal.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

Aiming to protect the health of the population throughout the country, various civil society organizations came together to work in a better regulation regarding Trans Fats. In this regard, they request that establish a maximum limit of the content of trans fats from production industrial 2% with respect to total fats in all products, including those that are used as ingredients and/or raw materials, and that are prohibit the use of partially hydrogenated oils.

This proposal is currently, and until May 12, in consultation public and it is expected that, based on the participation of the citizenry, it will be approved by the National Food Commission (CONAL). It is a proposal that passed to Public Consultation after the CONAL meetings on March 13 and 14 of this year. In this framework, from the Argentine Federation of Graduates in Nutrition (FAGRAN), the Inter-American Heart Foundation (FIC Arg.), the Argentine Society of Nutrition and Real Foods (SANAR), and the Foundation for the Development of Sustainable Policies (FUNDEPS) the entire community is invited to participate in the Public Consultation process by signing a letter of support for the proposal. In this way, citizens have the opportunity to participate in this instance of discussion on a public health policy.

These fats are found in products such as cookies, snacks, baths, confectionery, among other ultra-processed products, as well as in products of bakery. Scientific evidence establishes that this type of fat is not essential, are not required for any biological function in the body, and are not they have no health benefits. Therefore, international standards recommend that its consumption be eliminated from the world diet.

The Public Consultation takes place until 12/5 and the entire community can participate. To do so, just go to www.chaugrasastrans.org and sign the letter.

 

More Information

Contact

Maga Merlo Vijarra, magamerlov@fundeps.org

We present the 2021 Yearbook, a synthesis of the work we have carried out at Fundeps in a challenging year, with great struggles and achievements in pursuit of a more just, equitable and sustainable society.

Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website.

During 2021 we investigated, debated, proposed, worked, and participated in historic victories for human rights. Activities that are reflected in this new edition of the yearbook, which begins with a compilation of our actions in numbers and the main milestones we have achieved.

In addition, we share a summary of the activities carried out in the agendas of our 5 areas: Environment, Democracy, Gender and Sexual Diversity, Global Governance and Health.

2021 was also a year in which we promoted our institutional growth and participated in different activities and meetings to rethink ourselves. In this framework, we present our renewed mission and vision and the values ​​present in each of our initiatives.

We believe that collective action is the way to transform reality. For this reason, we want to thank our entire team, friendly organizations and donors, and those who support us every day to continue defending human rights.

SEE YEARBOOK 2021

On March 14 and 15, the National Food Commission (CONAL) held its ordinary meeting No. 144. There, among other topics, it worked on improving the regulation of trans fats based on the proposals presented by civil society and the Ministry of Health.

Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic.

CONAL, at its first meeting in 2022, put the update of art. 155 tris of the Argentine Food Code (CAA), referring to the maximum percentage of trans fats allowed in food products. For this, it used two proposals: one that civil society organizations presented in September 2021 and another, by the National Ministry of Health, whose presentation took place this year.

Both proposals state:

  • Establish a maximum limit of 2% of industrially produced trans fats on total fats in all food products. Including those used as ingredients and/or raw materials.
  • Ban the use of partially hydrogenated oil (main source of trans fatty acids).

It is important to highlight that these proposals are aligned with the best standards of public health protection, as well as with the recommendations of international expert organizations.

 

What’s coming

According to the minutes issued after the last meeting of CONAL, the National Food Institute (INAL) has the duty to prepare the so-called “joint resolution project” (PRC). This project is a document, where, taking into account both the proposal of civil society and that of the Ministry, the effective proposal to modify art. 155 tris.

After its preparation, the PRC must be sent for a period of 20 calendar days to all CONAL representatives and if no substantial comments are received, it must be submitted simultaneously to CONASE -Advisory Council- and to Public Consultation -open stage to the community-, for a period not exceeding 30 calendar days.

However, neither the statements made by members of CONASE or those that may arise in the framework of the public consultation, are binding. In other words, CONAL is not obliged to follow the positions that result from both instances, but they will be an important input to be assessed by the Commission when modifying the Food Code.

Subsequently, a new meeting of the CONAL will take place and if the modification proposal is approved, it will go to the administrative process so that the joint resolution between the Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and the Secretary of the Ministry of Health is issued, acquiring thus its character and rigor of the norm after being published in the Official Gazette.

 

Why is it important for civil society to participate?

Participation will be key to driving the proposal forward, as well as countering possible interference from the food industry. In general terms, the discussions raised within the scope of CONAL, given its institutional and operational scheme, are behind closed doors and quite far from citizen participation. Therefore, it is transcendental that civil society organizations begin to take part in this space, bringing the perspective of public health, human rights and, above all, prevention of non-communicable diseases.

Argentina is behind in terms of trans fat policies, so it is necessary to redirect efforts again to ensure the right to health of citizens.

We are getting closer to saying #ByeTransFats!

 

More information:

We present a proposal to eliminate trans fats in Argentina

Contact:

Maga Merlo Vijarra, magamerlov@fundeps.org

Together with Sanar, on Thursday, January 20, we sent a letter to the Nation’s Minister of Health (Dr. Carla Vizzotti), to the Secretary of Access to Health (Dr. Sandra Tirado) and to the Director of the National Food Institute (Lic. Monica Lopez). We request that the regulation of the Law for the Promotion of Healthy Food, sanctioned on October 26, be regulated in terms of transparency, free of conflicts of interest and with the participation of civil society.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

While the bill was discussed in the different chambers of the National Congress, attempts by the food industry to reduce its rigor became visible. Without success, now that it is time for its regulation, we fear the possible interference of the industry with orders aimed at hindering and delaying the process. For example, the shifting of the terms of the application of the law and the attempt to avoid the correct labeling in certain forms of presentation of drinkable and edible products.

To give rise to these possible interferences, other regulations that make up the regulations could be weakened; especially those that are intended to protect groups in a situation of vulnerability, such as children, adolescents, and low-income families.

It is due to this, that from the different civil society organizations we carry out different actions that demonstrate our interest in participating in the processes related to the regulation of the law; Since we do not have any type of conflict of interest, we can guarantee that it is regulated in a transparent manner and in accordance with the rights acquired at the time of sanction.

The health care of the Argentine population is still not certain, and we need the ministerial and competent entities to guarantee processes that respect that the regulation of the law will be based on the existing scientific evidence on the subject, in a clear and transparent.

Author
Lourdes Aparicio

Contact
Maga Merlo Vijarra, magamerlov@fundeps.org

Last Tuesday, October 26, in the Chamber of Deputies, with 200 votes in favor, the sanction of the Law for the Promotion of Healthy Eating was achieved, better known as the frontal labeling law.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

For years, in Argentina we did not know if what we ate hid any risk to our health. The increase in diseases related to poor diet (such as diabetes, hypertension and certain types of cancers), determined the need for the Argentine State to start moving forward with regulations that put the health and quality of life of the population as a priority. . After almost a year after the project left the Senate, and after several marches and countermarches, deputies were able to put aside their partisan differences, to finally approve the Front Labeling law.

This law protects three fundamental rights: health, adequate food and information in consumer relationships. For this, the regulations establish that all products packed in the absence of the customer and containing a high content of critical nutrients -such as sodium, sugar and fat- bear, on the main face of the container, black octagons with the legend “Excess in” . In this way, it is sought that simple and reliable information is available when deciding what to eat. In other words, the sale of any product is not prohibited, but rather it is intended to adequately warn of the true composition of what is being consumed.

More than a black seal

Throughout all this time, from various academic sectors and civil society, we highlight the comprehensive nature that the regulations managed to meet. This is due to the fact that, around the chosen labeling system, other regulations have been established that strengthen the protection of the right to health. These are the restrictions on advertising, promotion and sponsorship, regulations in educational establishments and in public purchases by the State.

With regard to marketing, the law requires that when a product is advertised that contains at least one warning seal, all the black octagons that this product bears are visible and / or enunciated. It only prohibits advertising when it is directed at children and adolescents and it is a product with excess fat, sugar and sodium. Given that we are in the presence of a regulation that seeks to protect children above all, the law also establishes that groceries with one or more warning stamps cannot have so-called “shopping hooks” on their packaging, such as drawings. cartoons, cartoons, famous people, athletes, etc. This is important because nothing that appears in the packaging of a product is the result of chance. On the contrary, it has been the object of analysis with the deliberate purpose of attracting the public, especially those who are in the development stage and who may not have enough knowledge to decide freely.

Regarding the educational establishments that make up the initial, primary and secondary level, the products that contain at least one warning seal or precautionary legends (“contains sweeteners, not recommended in children” or “contains caffeine, avoid in children / as ”) cannot be offered, marketed, advertised, promoted or sponsored. Likewise, in order to contribute to the development of healthy eating habits and warn about the harmful effects of an inadequate diet, the regulations also propose the development of minimum contents of nutritional food education in schools.
Finally, in relation to purchases by the State, the Public Administration must prioritize the contracting of all those products that do not have stamps. In this way, it seeks to positively impact the health of the most vulnerable sectors of the population, who are those who are most exposed to the consumption of processed and ultra-processed products.

Thus, the new law is positioned as an instrument capable of transforming the way in which the Argentine State addresses the food problem. For decades, policies have been replicated without taking into account nutritional criteria and consequently, they have not managed to reverse the chain of impoverishment or the situation of food insecurity.

What’s next

Each of the points mentioned shows that the Law for the Promotion of Healthy Eating is an advanced regulation that prioritizes public health over any other interest. It is the result of the consensus of different political forces and the best scientific evidence free of conflicts of interest.

We welcome its approval as it guarantees access to nutritious and quality food, while seeking to curb the strategies that the food industry systematically uses to promote excessive and uninformed consumption.

We took a fundamental step in terms of the protection of human rights, but the road ahead is still long. We are facing the challenge of regulation, where we know that the industry will continue to use all its machinery to protect its interests. For this reason, it is important that at this stage, each of the articles that make up the regulations continue to be protected and prioritize our rights.

Contact

Maga Merlo Vijarra,  magamerlov@fundeps.org 

 

Faced with the excessive delay due to the enactment of the front warning labeling law in the Chamber of Deputies, we submitted requests for information to the Anticorruption Office and the Transparency Office of the lower house in order to determine the potential existence or non-existence of conflicts of interest that could be affected to its sanction.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”

Throughout the debate on the front labeling law, it has been possible to glimpse cases of legislators who have adopted many of the narratives used by the food industry to obstruct or prevent the sanction of the regulation. For example, statements regarding the need to previously harmonize with Mercosur, the creation of technical barriers to trade, the demonization of food, the impact on jobs, among others. These arguments are characterized by being devoid of scientific evidence and lacking normative support. Well, far from being motivated by a public health interest, they are aimed at protecting the economic interests of the sector.

The bill has been in the Chamber of Deputies for almost a year and if it is not dealt with this year, it will lose parliamentary status. Faced with the questions that arise regarding the possible reasons that delay its approval, the potential existence of conflicts of interest in those who make up the Chamber, is presented as an unknown that deserves to be investigated and made visible by civil society organizations.

The Argentine legal system provides for a set of ethical principles and standards that the authorities are obliged to respect in order to guarantee that the public function is exercised in an integral and transparent manner. Among these rules, there is the regime of conflicts of interest, which establishes a series of measures and restrictions that are intended to prevent those who exercise public functions from being affected by their impartiality -or independence of criteria-, by putting their interests first. private over the public interest.

Based on this legal framework of transparency and in exercise of the right to petition the authorities, on September 6, we presented two requests for information: one, before the Anti-Corruption Office and another, before the Office of Transparency and Access to Information Public of the Chamber of Deputies of the Nation.

In this way, we request the affidavits of assets from legislators who have publicly and officially expressed themselves against the sanction of the law and which, to date, have not been published on official sites. Likewise, we request access to the list of meetings that these authorities – and their advisers – have arranged, in order to determine if there were meetings with the food industry where agreements that are affecting their impartiality have been generated, as well as the list of gifts or donations. that they may have received on the occasion or occasion of their functions.

We will continue to investigate possible avenues for complaint and urge the Anti-Corruption Office to promptly respond to the request for information submitted. The presence of conflicts of interest affects the quality of the political system and the functioning of democracies. It generates a gradual disbelief in the population about the legitimacy of public decisions and gives rise to interests outside the common good to interfere in the processes of public policy making. Making visible generates awareness in the public and is the way so that these practices are no longer legitimized.

 

More information

Authors

Alma Colina

Maga Merlo Vijarra 

Contact

Maga Merlo Vijarra, magamerlov@fundeps.org

From Fundeps, SANAR, FIC Argentina, Fagran and Argentine Consumers we sent a proposal to the National Food Commission (CONAL) for Argentina to move towards a more restrictive regulation of trans fats and that prohibits the use of partially hydrogenated oils.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”

The different organizations proposed to CONAL to modify article 155 tris of the Argentine Food Code (CAA). Said article currently establishes that:

the content of industrially produced trans fatty acids in food must not exceed: 2% of total fats in vegetable oils and margarines intended for direct consumption and 5% of total fats in other foods, including those that They are used as ingredients and raw materials.

In this sense, we propose that a maximum limit of the content of trans fatty acids (TFA) of industrial production of 2% with respect to total fats in all products be established. Including those that are used as ingredients and / or raw materials, and also prohibit the use of partially hydrogenated oil.

The proposal arises given that the consumption of trans fats is dangerous for health, since it increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, sudden cardiac death and diabetes mellitus, among other diseases. In other words, the available scientific evidence establishes that these fats are not essential, they are not required for any biological function in the body and they do not have any health benefits.

It is essential to improve regulation, since despite the recent modifications incorporated in article 155 tris of the CAA where it was clarified that the restriction and maximum limits of trans fats include raw materials and ingredients, it continues to be insufficient.

In addition, although the State has worked since 2010 to reduce the presence of trans fatty acids in the supply chain, there is currently an outdated approach to the limits proposed by international expert organizations in the field. An example is the WHO REPLACE (2018) package of measures that aims to eliminate TFA from the food supply and the “Action Plan to eliminate trans-fatty acids from industrial production 2020-2025”, launched in 2020, which seeks to facilitate the implementation of policies and measures at the national level. In both documents, it is recommended to adopt regulatory frameworks to eliminate or reduce the content of TFA to a maximum of 2% of the total fat content in all food products. If this recommendation is coupled with a ban on partially hydrogenated oils (APH), it may have an added effect by allowing enforcement against other sources of trans fatty acids, such as poor quality refined oils.

About trans fats:

Industrial trans fatty acids, known as “trans fats,” are present in a large number of processed foods such as baked goods, baked goods, cookies, and snack foods. These fats are made by the food industry through a process called “hydrogenation”, which transforms liquid vegetable oils into semi-solid fats.

A large body of evidence has shown that increased consumption of trans fats has serious health consequences. According to WHO studies, they are an important factor in the development of cardiovascular diseases and non-communicable diseases worldwide, causing an estimated half a million deaths each year.

More information:

Contact:

Maga Merlo Vijarra, magamerlov@fundeps.org 

Next Monday, July 12 -from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.- we will present, together with a group of organizations, the Argentine Network of Community Advocacy, a space for articulation, support, advocacy and learning between organizations and legal professionals from all over the country, that we work for access to rights and legal empowerment of vulnerable people or groups. To participate, register here.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”

Taking into account the great difficulties that social organizations and activists encounter in defending the rights of vulnerable groups, from ACIJ, FUNDEPS, TECHO, CAPIBARA, XUMEK – REPAD and ANDHES we saw the need to create a Community Advocacy Network to solve legal needs and structural problems that similarly affect large groups: people with disabilities, migrants, women, children and adolescents, the elderly, indigenous peoples, people deprived of liberty, victims of institutional violence , among others.

We seek to face with collective strategies the great obstacles that exist when practicing social advocacy and, in this way, guarantee effective access to the rights of their communities.

We are waiting for you next Monday, July 12 -from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.- to the presentation of this initiative, which is in permanent construction, to continue adding contributions from organizations and activists who want to be part of it.

What is RAAC?

RAAC is the Argentine Network of Community Advocacy. Its objective is to build a space for articulation, support, advocacy and learning among legal professionals from all over the country, who work for access to rights and the legal empowerment of vulnerable people or groups.

Goals

  • Generate alliances, synergies and solidarity between social organizations, professionals and activists that work in the field of community advocacy and community legal empowerment.
  • To promote greater visibility of the different local experiences linked to the subject.
  • Carry out an advocacy agenda in local and national public policies, linked to community advocacy and legal empowerment.
  • Increase the national debate on community advocacy and its development as a disciplinary field.
  • Generate a learning community that respects the plurality of thoughts and opinions, strengthens community growth and contributes to the development of the capacities and abilities of all those who are linked to community advocacy and legal empowerment

Para participar del evento, inscribite en este formulario.