MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The US, European Union, Canada and Switzerland, house to among the world’s largest meals corporations, have pressed Mexico to delay upcoming well being warnings on processed meals and drinks, a World Commerce Group doc confirmed.
FILE PHOTO: Costumers stroll within the corridors of a beverage depot on the wholesale market “Central de Abastos” in Mexico Metropolis, Mexico January 11, 2019. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril
The Mexican commonplace, scheduled to take impact in October, would require front-of-pack diet labeling that clearly describes the well being dangers posed when these merchandise are excessive in sugars, energy, salt, and saturated or trans fats.
Mexico, the biggest shopper of processed meals in Latin America and the fourth-largest on the planet, has lengthy struggled with excessive charges of weight problems and diabetes. That well being disaster has been exacerbated by the novel coronavirus, which hits folks affected by these sicknesses notably laborious.
Weight problems reached epidemic proportions in Mexico after it joined the North American Free Commerce Settlement with the US and Canada within the early 1990s, making processed meals extra simply accessible, a number of research have proven.
Final week, the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca banned the sale, distribution and promoting of junk meals and sugary drinks to youngsters, turning into the nation’s first state to take action.
In keeping with WTO minutes of a Might 13-14 assembly of the Committee on Technical Obstacles to Commerce, printed on Monday, the U.S. delegation mentioned it helps Mexico’s public well being goal of decreasing diet-related non-communicable ailments however that it was involved the deliberate labeling could also be “extra commerce restrictive than needed to fulfill Mexico’s professional well being goals.”
“Mexico has chosen extra stringent nutrient thresholds than the thresholds set by different international locations,” the U.S. delegation mentioned, citing the views of the federal government and 9 commerce teams.
The US, Switzerland, Canada and the EU opposed the Oct. 1 implementation date. Washington and the EU sought a two-year delay whereas Canada requested for the begin to be pushed again 12 months. Switzerland urged postponement with out specifying a timeline.
Washington mentioned a delay was wanted “in gentle of the COVID-19 world pandemic, which has positioned important stress on the meals and beverage trade.”
The Mexican authorities didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. However a Mexican authorities official with data of the matter, who declined to be named, mentioned: “We advised them there could be no further time.”
Pepita Barlow, assistant professor of well being coverage on the London Faculty of Economics and Political Science, mentioned international locations which are house to main multi-national meals firms similar to Switzerland, the US and EU most ceaselessly opposed new meals requirements, specializing in commerce prices and earnings.
The Mexican authorities official mentioned the international locations opposing Mexico’s commonplace had been appearing in a last-ditch effort to derail the adjustments and placing their issues forward of public well being.
The Mexican non-public sector has additionally opposed the brand new guidelines. Jaime Zabludovsky, president of foyer group ConMexico which represents meals and beverage corporations, just lately mentioned the labels would confuse the general public, in response to Mexican media outlet Aristegui Noticias.
The federal government official mentioned Coca-Cola Co (KO.N), PepsiCo Inc (PEP.O), Nestle (NESN.S) and Mexican breadmaker Grupo Bimbo (BIMBOA.MX) had been amongst corporations that requested for a delay.
The businesses didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark. Representatives on the U.S., EU, Canadian and Swiss embassies didn’t reply to requests for remark.
Reporting by Anthony Esposito