Colombia · Law · Legislation

Law for Promotion of Healthy Food Environments and NCD Prevention (Law No. 2120 of 2021)

Objectives:

Also known as "Ley Comida Chatarra", this law seeks to adopt effective measures that promote healthy food environments, guaranteeing the basic right to health, especially for children and adolescents, with the aim of preventing the emergence of NCDs.  

Scope:

The “Ley Comida Chatarra” promotes healthy food environments by providing consumers with access to clear, truthful, timely, visible, suitable, and sufficient information on food components (Art. 1).

Specifically, it provides for the adoption of several diet-related policies:

  • The mandatory display of a front-of-pack labelling (FOPL, in Spanish “etiquetado frontal”) scheme for edible products and beverages “according to the level of processing” and exceeding the thresholds of critical nutrients. Although the definition of the technical parameters is left to the Ministry of Health, the law foresees that the FOPL scheme must include a warning label (“sello de advertencia”), be “of high preventive impact”, clear, visible, easy to identify and to understand for consumers. Moreover, it is provided that the Ministry of Health must adopt technical regulations “based on the best available scientific evidence free from conflicts of interest” (Art. 5).
  • Regarding health and nutritional claims, the law foresees that the Ministry of Health will issue specific regulations on the health and nutrition claims that can be made by the products bearing warning labels (Art. 5.2)
  • The creation of digital education tools with information regarding healthy habits and lifestyles (Art. 6).
  • Promotion of healthy school environments, including access to drinkable water and promotion of consumption of fruit, vegetables, and locally-made products (Art. 9).

The law has a provision for sanctions. It foresees that the National Institute for Food and Drug Surveillance (INVIMA) will impose sanctions against anyone who violates the provisions on FOPL and health and nutrition claims. The Superintendency of Industry and Commerce will impose sanctions for non-compliance in matters of advertising and violations of consumer rights (Art. 11).