Caribbean Consumers Have the Right to Know

by HCC

Reach out to your Local National Bureau of Standards and let them know you support the right of Caribbean Consumers to know what is in their food
Caribbean Consumers Have the Right to Know

This initiative seeks to ensure that the voices of consumers are considered in the voting on the Final Draft CARICOM Regional Standard for Specification for labelling of pre-packaged foods (FDCRS 5:2010) which is currently being voted on across 15 Caribbean Member States through the National Bureaus of Standards (NBSs) up until May 31, 2021.

The Standard includes octagonal “High in” front-of-package warning label specifications on pre-packaged products and the PAHO Nutrient Profile model. Global and regional evidence support that the octagonal front of package warning labels (FOPWL) are the most effective and simple tool to allow Caribbean people to correctly, easily, and quickly identify unhealthy foods high in sugars, fats and sodium.

Unhealthy diets dominated by ultra-processed foods high in sugars, fats and sodium is the leading risk factor for obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). FOPWL is a key policy tool of a comprehensive approach to regulate unhealthy food environments and help combat obesity and the burden of NCDs in the Caribbean.

Octagonal Front of Package warning Labels empower Caribbean citizens of every age, literacy and background to make informed healthier decisions about the foods they consume for themselves and their families.

Join us in reaching out to local National Bureaus of Standards and the stakeholders tasked with voting on this important Standard which has the potential to significantly change regional food environments.  You have a right know what is in your food and a right to be involved in a process that affects your health.

Choose your country from the list to send the letter shown below to your local Bureau indicating your support for Octagonal Front of Package Warning Labelling and the Final Draft CARICOM Regional Standard for Specification for labelling of pre-packaged foods (FDCRS 5:2010).

This is the letter that will be sent to to your local Bureau indicating your support for Octagonal Front of Package Warning Labelling and the Final Draft CARICOM Regional Standard for Specification for labelling of pre-packaged foods (FDCRS 5:2010).

Subject: Support for Final Draft CARICOM Regional Standard for Labeling (FDCRS 5:2010)

Dear Sir/Madam

As a consumer I would like to express my full support for the approval of the Final Draft CARICOM Regional Standard for Specification for labelling of pre-packaged foods (FDCRS 5:2010).

Far too many Caribbean people are living with obesity or a chronic noncommunicable disease, and Front of package warning labels (FOPWL) is one of a package of nutrition policies which are needed to create healthier food environments and support improved diets. I am pleased to see that the FDCRS 5:2010 includes the octagon-shaped front-of-package warning labels (FOPWL) indicating if a product is “HIGH IN” one or more critical nutrients (such as sugars, sodium, or fats), and the PAHO nutrient profile model (PAHO NPM) to establish the thresholds that define when these critical nutrients are in excess. The evidence including a recent study from Jamaica shows that that octagonal warning labels are the most effective and simple tool to allow Caribbean people to quickly and correctly identify unhealthy products. I believe consumers have a right to know what is in our food so that we can make informed decisions about the food we purchase for ourselves and our families especially during this time of COVID-19.

I look forward to a balanced and transparent stakeholder consultation process to arrive at our country’s position on whether or not to approve the DRAFT standard for submission to the CROSQ Council. While my vote in support of FOPWL will not be officially counted as part of your consultation, I do hope that the voices of consumers will be considered in your deliberations as the single most important stakeholder group which has the greatest to lose or gain from this process. I trust your consultations and final decision will be guided by the public health objective behind this standard and as such allow public health reasoning to prevail and lead to a resounding vote of support from our country.

Find out more about Front-of-Package Warning Labeling here.

Find out more about the ‘Now More Than Ever Better Labels, Better Choices, Better Health’ Regional Campaign Promoting Front-of-Package Warning Labelling here.

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