junk food law

The health food regulations in the world are getting bigger. That is why food packaging must provide clear information about the ingredients they contain so that the consumer can choose, according to their consideration, the best.

In Colombia, the law on junk food or Food Labeling Law, which the packaging and food industry must pay close attention to meet this demand.

Law 2120 of 2021

Law 2120 of Healthy Environments, this law that is also popularly known as junk food law, in Colombia, was approved in the Congress of the Republic in 2021.

What is the junk food law?

The law is designed to protect health of the kids. It forces the food industry to label products with their nutritional value and ingredients.

In Colombia, this law was approved that will force junk food companies to place a warning label on their containers so that consumers know what they are buying. The law will also require these companies to provide information on the amount of sugar, salt and fat in each product.

This law is expected to reduce obesity among children and make them more aware of healthy eating habits.

The junk food law seeks to adopt measures to promote healthy food environments and prevent non-communicable diseases.

Its main objective is described in its first article, thus:

ARTICLE 1. Object. This law adopts effective measures that promote healthy food environments, guaranteeing the fundamental right to health, especially of children and adolescents, in order to prevent the appearance of Non-Communicable Diseases, through access to clear, truthful, timely, visible, suitable and sufficient, on food components in order to promote healthy eating habits.

Law 2120 of 2021, Colombia

The objective of this law is that the packages of edible products have warning labels on the front when they are high in sodium, sugars, calories or saturated fat.

The Colombian Industry, which is related to food products, such as manufacturers, marketers and even the graphic industry, must work together, so that the nutritional information in these 3 aspects (sugar, sodium or saturated fats) is labeled on the front of the packaging.

ARTICLE 5. Front Warning Labeling. All edible or drinkable products classified according to the level of processing with an excessive amount of critical nutrients established by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, must implement a front labeling where a warning seal is incorporated, which must be of high preventive impact, clear, visible, legible, easily identified and understood by consumers, with unequivocal messages that warn the consumer of the excessive content of critical nutrients.

Law 2120 of 2021, Colombia

This law had 3 attempts to be executed in almost 6 years, which led to many debates in the Congress of the Republic. Which led to a delay compared to more than 50 countries in the world that had already implemented it.

How should the front labeling be?

The technical document that establishes the nutritional and front labeling requirements that packaged or packaged foods for human consumption must meet is Resolution No. 810 of 2021 (approved on June 16, 2021).

There they establish, among many aspects, how the design of the label should be.

Junk Food Law label design

Not only is it necessary to comply with the labeling, but graphically it must meet some aspects, minimum front labeling.

This will be a circular stamp with a black background and white border and inside it the text “HIGH IN” followed by “SATURATED FATS” or “SAL/SODIUM” and/or “ADDED SUGARS” individually or with 2 or 3 stamps as appropriate.

Warning front stamp shape

The letters of the texts must be capital letters and in white, in ARIAL BOLD. In addition, in this symbol, the word MINSALUD must be inscribed in black letters.

When the packaged food meets all the requirements and technical criteria, the positive seal can be included on a voluntary basis. This checkmark symbol will be RGB (34, 55, 98) or CMYK (100%, 87%, 33% AND 22%) in color with a white border on the outside.

Positive Seal

More details will be found in number 32 and 33 of Resolution 810 of 2021

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Resolution 810 of 2021 of the Ministry of Health

This resolution does not go against the Junk Food Law in Colombia, but complements it.

This establishes conditions and requirements for nutritional and frontal warning labeling for packaged or packaged foods and beverages, providing the consumer with clear and understandable nutritional information about the product, preventing practices that lead to deception or error, and allowing the consumer to make an informed choice.

Applicable to all packaged or packaged food for human consumption, national and imported, that are marketed in the national territory.

Main points

  • Nutrition labeling: The scope, purposes and characteristics, and prohibitions in nutritional labeling or labeling (Arts. 4, 5, 6.).
  • Nutrient Declaration: Mandatory in all packaged or packaged food, establishes a way of expressing and calculating. Provides daily nutrient reference values. (Articles 7-14)
  • Nutritional claims: Chapter IV (Arts. 16 – 22)
  • Health claims: Chapter 5 (Arts. 23-26)
  • Front warning labeling: Defines shape, dimensions, location, proportions of the warning seal (Art. 32).
  • positive stamp: Defines forms, dimensions and technical criteria (Art. 33).
  • Liability regime: inspection, surveillance and control (INVIMA) (Art. 36).
  • transience rules Art. 40, are rules of special interest to the industry, such as the validity and important information of the packaging of previous products.

Junk food law in other countries

In our continent, similar measures have already been taken, such as in Chile, Peru, Uruguay and Argentina, following the recommendations of medical institutions such as the Pan American Health Organization.

This type of front labeling has already been implemented in 20 other countries and the main objective has begun to be seen positively in the change in the consumption habits of citizens.

In Mexico

In Mexico, as of 2020, a new food labeling began, which must inform the excesses contained in the merchandise, with some features:

  • The excesses in saturated fats, sugars, calories, sodium, among others, they should be warned.
  • The labels should be black in color and octagonal in shape.
  • The phrase “avoid in children” must go in some non-alcoholic beverage products.

In Peru

In Peru they already have the law since 2013 (Law 30021, known as the law against junk food). But it does not currently have a regulation to be applied.

In Argentina

Argentina joins other countries such as Chile, Mexico and Colombia, which in the region have already implemented a front labeling law for food.

In October 2021, the law was approved in Congress that obliges the food industry to label packages that warn the consumer about excess sugars, fats and sodium.

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