“We believe that the best way to approach the problem of obesity is through consumer education that changes people’s habits,” he said in an emailed statement.
Pepsi Co, the maker of Cheetos, and Kellogg, producer of Frosted Flakes, have gone to court, arguing that the regulations infringe on their intellectual property. María José Echeverria, a spokeswoman for Pepsi Co, said the company was fully compliant with the law, and had no interest in overturning it, but was only trying to protect its ability to use a locally registered trademark. Soaring obesity rates are forcing governments around the world to confront one of the more serious threats to public health in a generation.
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Nutrition experts say the measures are the world’s most ambitious attempt to remake a country’s food culture and could be a model for how to turn the tide on a global obesity epidemic that researchers say contributes to 4 million premature deaths a year.
“It’s hard to overstate how significant Chile’s actions are – or how hard it has been to get there in the face of the usual pressures,” said Stephen Simpson, director of the Charles Perkins Centre, an organization of scholars focused on nutrition and obesity science and policy.
During the long fight over the food law, Girardi, (56), publicly assailed big food companies as “21st century pedophiles” and, before Bachelet took office, spent weeks protesting outside the presidential palace with placards that accused her predecessor, Sebastián Piñera, of destroying the nation’s health by vetoing an earlier version of the legislation.
“Sugar kills more people than terrorism and car accidents combined,” he said in an interview as he shook a box of Trix cereal for effect.
Officials have been particularly alarmed by childhood obesity rates that are among the world’s highest, with more than half of 6-year-old children overweight or obese.