Both the United States and European countries are requesting a longer period to implement the labeling of products considered harmful to health.
The United States, the European Union, Canada and Switzerland, home to some of the world’s largest food companies, pressured Mexico to delay the next health warnings on processed foods and beverages, according to a document from the World Food Organization. Trade (WTO).
The Mexican standard, scheduled to take effect in October, will require nutritional labeling on the front of the package that clearly outlines the health risks that arise when those products are high in sugars, calories, salt and saturated fat.
Mexico, the largest consumer of processed foods in Latin America and the fourth largest in the world, has struggled for years with high rates of diabetes and obesity, a health crisis that has been exacerbated by the new coronavirus.
Last week, the Mexican state of Oaxaca prohibited the sale to children of foods known as junk food and sugary drinks, becoming the first entity in the country to legislate on the subject.
According to WTO minutes of a May 13-14 meeting, released on Monday, the U.S. delegation said it supported Mexico’s public health goal, but was concerned about the implementation date and requested a period of two-year transition.
The Swiss delegation said that changes in labeling requirements will add difficulties “at a time when producers, importers and retailers are trying to ensure the uninterrupted supply of food and beverages to the Mexican market,” according to the document.
The European Union also requested a two-year transition period and Canada requested a delay of at least 12 months.
Representatives from the embassies of the United States, the EU, Canada and Switzerland, as well as the Mexican government, did not respond to a request for comment, but a Mexican official with knowledge of the matter, who declined to be named, said: “they were told there would be no more time ”.