This week, the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico (SCJN) will resolve three appeals against the front labeling of industrialized foods. In all cases, the draft rulings order to ratify the constitutionality of this regulation, stating that the right to health of consumers is superior to the interests of the market.
The first of these amparos, filed by the company El corazón del fruto SA de CV, was scheduled to be voted on last year, but the judges of the second chamber decided to postpone it in order to resolve the three cases on the same issue simultaneously.
The other amparos were filed by Herdez SA de CV, and by Santa Clara Mercantil de Pachuca SA.
All the draft rulings coincide in denying the amparos requested, due to the fact that the purpose of the challenged NOM is legitimate: “to avoid the consumption, preferably in minors, of those products containing added caffeine (immediate purpose), since said alkaloid is the one used in carbonated beverages which, as well as other ultra-processed products, are associated with the development of non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, one of the main causes of mortality in Mexico”, states Minister Alberto Pérez Dayán in one of the proposed rulings.
Nutritional warnings have gained popularity, particularly in the region of the Americas, to facilitate the identification of products with excessive content of nutrients associated with non-communicable diseases and encourage healthier food choices. Although warnings have been shown to be effective, an in-depth understanding of the reasons why some consumers do not use them is still lacking. The aim of the present work was to explore self-reported use of nutritional warnings and to identify the reasons for not considering nutritional warnings for making food purchase decisions after policy implementation in Uruguay. A non-probabilistic sample of 858 Uruguayan participants was recruited using an advertisement on Facebook and Instagram. Through an online survey, self-reported use of nutritional warnings was asked using a closed-open ended questions. Participants who reported not considering warnings to make their purchase decisions were asked to explain the reasons why using an open-ended question. Responses were analysed using deductive coding, based on the Behavioural Drivers Model. Thirty seven percent of the participants stated that the warnings had not influenced their purchase decisions. Motives for not being influenced by the warnings were related to lack of interest, attitudes, lack of perceived self-efficacy, cognitive biases and limited rationality when making purchase decisions. In addition, structural barriers, such as availability, cost and trust in the food industry also emerged from participants’ responses. Strategies to encourage the use of warnings should include communication campaigns and policies to address structural barriers related to the perceived availability and affordability of healthy foods.
Consumers often report difficulties in interpreting the quantitative information contained in the nutritional labels of foods. The objective was to study the main knowledge about food labeling that the adult population of Paraguay has incorporated in the period of August 2021. This is a cross-sectional descriptive observational study in which male and female adults between 18 and 60 years old consumers of foods with nutrition labelling were evaluated. Sociodemographic data and knowledge about nutritional labeling of food was collected through an online survey with the Google forms tool. Seventy three percent was female, the average age was 36.9 years, 57.1% lived in Greater Asunción, 49.1% had a university education level, and 37.5% were health professionals. The general aspects about nutritional labeling revealed that 88.3% knew the concept, 55.3% said that they read it almost always, 84% knew that it was mandatory and 44% paid more attention to calories. When evaluating general knowledge, 91% knew the difference between expiration and preferential consumption, 71.4% knew the concept of indicative quantities, 62.5% knew which are the less healthy fats, and 71.4% correctly answered the concept of light food. The survey respondents had an adequate general knowledge about nutrition labeling, however, there was a considerable percentage of individuals who did not know the basic concepts, for which consumer-focused nutrition education interventions should be carried out.
This journal article describes from a characterization of Law & Journalism the scenario of institutional weakness experienced by Colombia regarding the labeling of ultra-processed foods, evidencing a field where there were no rules of the game, which had a structural impact on the regulatory system, that is, a section of the regulatory framework (legal and regulatory) focused on protecting the right to health, safeguarding consumer sovereignty and, in short, satisfying the general interest of a population immersed in a context of market failures. In this sense, this article proposes a preliminary review from a narrative and theoretical-descriptive perspective and through a historical account, if we consider the recent changes in the Colombian normative-regulatory model.