The basic food basket, a policy that undermines the right to adequate nourishment

An analysis of the Basic Food Basket (CBA) shows that it does not conform to the Food Guidelines for the Argentine Population (GAPA) and other international standards. We demand its redesign from a human rights perspective that contemplates the standards proposed by international organizations.

Below we offer a translated 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.

Currently, in our country, the income method or Poverty Line (LP) is used to quantify the amount of income that an individual or family group must have in order to fullfill, in a minimum and adequate way, their basic needs. To achieve the comparison of income between households and individuals, and thus classify those who are above or below the Line of Indigence (LI) (poor and non-poor), the Basic Food Basket (CBA) is built, which is the estimated value of a set of basic and essential foods, taking into account a certain household with a certain number of members.

This measurement is based on the budget that monetary income allows households to acquire the goods and services that are necessary to guarantee the quality of life and well-being. But other important factors to consider are overlooked, and in the particular case of our country, where recurrent inflation directly affects their purchasing power, the indicator ends up measuring food price variations and not poverty itself .

In addition, this way of measuring poverty does not express the value of healthy eating. On the contrary, a large proportion of food included in the CBA does not conform to the provisions of the Food Guidelines for the Argentine Population (GAPA), or other international standards; deepening an obsolete model of thinking about the food of the population to the detriment of the effective enjoyment of the human rights of the citizenry that is in a worse economic situation.

Poverty measurement, on the other hand, should include in its methodological definition preventive food standards for nutritional problems that affect our current society and are now considered an epidemic (such as overweight and obesity). Serious public policies must be planned interinstitutionally and with a transversal human rights approach, integrating national and international standards proposed by international organizations such as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) or the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) .

Inadequate food is one of the main causes of noncommunicable diseases in the world and has as its main consequences overweight and obesity. Given the worrying panorama of excess weight in the Argentine population, it is necessary that – on the contrary – the State advances with regulation based on scientific evidence that seeks to discourage the consumption of unhealthy products and encourage the consumption of nutritional high-valued foods.


Ana Carla Barrera Vitali


Agustina Mozzoni, agustinamozzoni@fundeps.org

Download link (Spanish version)

Canasta básica argentina – Documento Fundeps