The United States, European Union, Canada and Switzerland, home to some of the world’s biggest food companies, have pressed Mexico to delay upcoming health warnings on processed food and drinks, a World Trade Organization document showed.
The Mexican standard, scheduled to take effect in October, will require front-of-pack nutrition labeling that clearly describes the health risks posed when those products are high in sugars, calories, salt, and saturated or trans fat.
Mexico, the largest consumer of processed food in Latin America and the fourth-largest in the world, has long struggled with high rates of obesity and diabetes. That health crisis has been exacerbated by the novel coronavirus, which hits people suffering from those illnesses particularly hard.
Obesity reached epidemic proportions in Mexico after it joined the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Canada in the early 1990s, making processed food more easily available, several studies have shown.