Healthy eating. On September 11th, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) published a report highlighting the deterioration of nutrition indicators in the world. It stressed that cheap industrialized food is marketed with great ease. Faced with this situation, the FAO indicated that if effective measures are not taken, in a few years there will be more obese people than undernourished in Latin America. Among the measures the organization called for we find: the inclusion of special taxes to discourage such consumption, a labelling scheme for processed foods and restrictions on advertising. Different Latin American countries (including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and Colombia) are studying tax and food labeling measures. In the coming months, FAO’s position is expected to serve as a basis for these regulatory proposals.
The report, entitled The State of Food and Nutritional Security in the World, argues that there has been an increase in the number of people in the world who have a diet that does not meet basic energy levels. It also stipulates that if there is no change in public policies, considering the current rate of deterioration of the indicators, it will not be possible to meet the 2nd Goal of Sustainable Development: Zero Hunger.
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva pointed out that it is necessary to deepen a regulatory scheme that prioritizes a healthy diet. In this regard, he requested that the 189 countries that make up the organization promote taxes on unhealthy food products, clear and informative labeling of products, and advertising restrictions for food not recommended for children. He also called for reducing levels of salt and sugar used to produce food and evaluated the ban on the use of some ingredients, such as trans fats.
Faced with a scenario of accelerating malnutrition indicators, FAO will push to correct the variables with tax measures that discourage the consumption of critical products and promote a diet of fresh food. The executive branches of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia, among others, studied the taxation of ultraprocessed foods and beverages, but withdrew their proposals as a result of the pressure exerted by the food producing sectors. It is expected that, in the coming months, they will take these FAO’s recommendations to study again the incorporation of these taxes.