Law & Practice

ARGENTINA: Congress Passes Front-of-Pack Labeling Law

Published: January 12, 2022

Martin Chajchir

Martin Chajchir Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal Buenos Aires, Argentina INTA Bulletins—Latin America Subcommittee

Verifier

Celia Lerman

Celia Lerman Lerman & Szlak Buenos Aires, Argentina INTA Bulletins—Latin America Subcommittee

The Argentine Congress recently passed a law on front-of-pack (FOP) labeling. The new law, which was published in the Official Gazette on November 12, 2021, entered into force on November 21, 2021. However, a 180-day grace period was granted for brand owners to comply with the provisions of the law; a further extension of 180 days shall be granted for specific cases in which reasonable grounds can be shown. The Executive Branch of the Argentine Government has until February 22, 2022, to regulate the law and to issue complementary rules necessary for its application.

The purpose of the FOP Labeling Law is to (a) guarantee the right to health and healthy nutrition; (b) warn consumers about the excess of sugar, sodium, saturated fats, total fats, and caloric components (collectively defined as “critical nutrients”); and (c) promote the prevention of malnutrition and reduction of chronic, non-transmissible diseases.

In a nutshell, all food and non-alcoholic beverages that are either composed of critical nutrients (sugars, saturated fat, total fat, and sodium) and whose calories exceed those established in the law, must include a warning label for each critical nutrient in excess. The maximum values of critical nutrients must fall within the limits of the Nutrient Profile Guidelines set forth by the Pan American Health Organization.

Table sugar, vegetable oils, dried fruit, and table salt have been exempted and shall not display a warning label.

The warning label shall have the following characteristics:

  • Be in the shape of an octagon and have a black background with white capital letters;
  • Cover at least five percent of the surface of the front of the package; and
  • Not be partially or completely covered up by other elements.

In addition, packaged foods and non-alcoholic beverages that contain warning labels cannot include any of the following:

  • Complementary nutritional information;
  • Logos or phrases with the sponsorship or endorsement of scientific societies or civil associations; or
  • Cartoons; pictures of celebrities, athletes, or pets; gifts, prizes, or collectables; among others.

Failure to comply with the provisions of the law will subject the offender to the sanctions set forth by Decree 274/19 on Fair Trade.

It is worth mentioning that products that fall under this law must still comply with the general provisions of ingredients and nutritional information as set forth in the Argentine Food Code.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. Law & Practice updates are published without comment from INTA except where it has taken an official position.

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