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Media Advisory - Nutrition, Alcohol, and Environmental Impact Labels Should Protect Public Interests, Not Sell Foods that are Harmful to Humans and the Planet,

·2-min read

Six Networks Representing 550 Public Interest Groups Tell UN Standard Setting Body at
Virtual Codex meeting September 27-October 7, 2021
hosted virtually by the Government of Canada

OTTAWA & REMOTE CITIES, Sept. 26, 2021 /CNW/ - Since 2016, a United Nations body mandated to set standards for trade in food has been negotiating a set of guidelines for countries seeking to help consumers choose nutritious foods and avoid junk food with so-called "front-of-pack nutrition labelling (FOPNL)" and is considering more protective labels to announce risks for alcohol and environmental impact of foods.

WHAT HAPPENS IN OTTAWA VIRTUALLY: From September 27 to October 7, 2021, the Codex Committee on Food Labelling (CCFL) will hold formal negotiations on guiding principles for the development of Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labelling (FOPNL). Approximately 350 representatives from 60+ national governments, dozens of food industry associations, and a handful of officially recognized health and consumer groups are expected to convene to significantly advance a process that began in May 2016.

WHY THESE NEGOTIATIONS MATTER: Evidence-based, flexible Codex standards can support national governments to design strong FOPNL rules that are protective of health. Standards set by the Codex Committee on Food Labelling are not mandatory for national governments, but are presumptive ceiling standards for consumer protection that countries cannot exceed without providing additional scientific justification that might not be considered sufficient if a trading partner challenged those rules.

Unhealthy diets were estimated to cause 8 million deaths and waste 188 million disabilities adjusted life years (DALYs) worldwide in 2019, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation's Global Burden of Disease. The World Health Organization estimates that excess alcohol causes 3 million deaths per year. And the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that 21–37% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are attributable to the food system and that climate change will have important negative impacts on food security.

A joint-statement supported by six networks—representing 550 groups worldwide—urges the Committee to develop guidance that supports mandatory labelling, conflict-of-interest safeguards, public-health innovation by national governments, preventing underserved halo effects on food, environmental impact labelling, and effective alcohol labelling.

For further information, see contact information in the full statement:

SOURCE Centre for Health Science and Law (CHSL)


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