Food labeling. The Latin American Network of States for the Transformation of Food Systems and Better Nutrition was launched in December 2023. The network will promote the generation of regional work plans for the control of ultra-processed foods and the elimination of agrochemicals in food production, among other objectives. The space is led by Mexico with the active participation of health authorities from Chile, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Peru and Uruguay. The objective of the space is to have the process of adhesion to the network of interested countries completely closed by February 2024 in order to start promoting concrete actions in the region from then on.
At the launch, Mexico’s Undersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion, Ruy López Ridaura, highlighted the regulatory advances that the region has made so far. He highlighted the use of taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, warning labeling, marketing regulations aimed at children and food health programs in the school environment as mechanisms to stimulate healthier consumption habits.
Looking to the future, and as part of the actions that the Network will seek to promote, he highlighted actions to increase the supply and marketing of healthy and nutritious foods, including incentives for the production and sale of this type of food, as well as the application of subsidies for these foods. For the reduction of ultra-processed foods, he said he was interested in promoting the application of taxes on them and supporting countries in the region that have not yet implemented the system of frontal nutritional warning labeling.
Regarding the Network’s work program, Lopez reported that it will focus its first efforts on cross-sectoral work plans for the transformation of food systems, exchanging perspectives and sharing experiences. It will also monitor regional efforts to identify best practices and opportunities for progress. The Network will also define a position to promote actions at the international level to control the consumption of ultra-processed products, which replace healthy diets.