Implement octagonal front-of-package warning labels
THE EDITOR, Madam:
The Jamaica Association of Professionals in Nutrition and Dietetics (JAPINAD) fully supports the adoption of a front-of-package warning label system in Jamaica to support consumers in identifying foods and beverages which have nutrients at excess levels that are associated with health risk.
We understand that there are varying perspectives about whether or not front-of-package warning labelling (FOPWL) is needed, or what type is needed. However, recent studies conducted in Jamaica show that the octagonal FOPWL is the best-suited label system to support consumers in identifying the nutritionally best choice. In addition, for populations like ours, where numeracy, literacy and health literacy may be a challenge for significant pockets of the population, the octagonal FOPWL has been shown to be the most effective.
There is a high availability of ultra-processed foods containing excess nutrients of concern (e.g., sodium, fats and sugars) on the market. In light of the high prevalence of diseases related to excess consumption of these nutrients, a label system that helps consumers to quickly and easily identify harmful amounts in foods and beverages is imperative. The COVID-19 pandemic has further underscored the urgent need for such a system, given the impact on consumer shopping habits, eating behaviours, and the increased risk of adverse events in persons with underlying non-communicable diseases.
The Healthy Caribbean Coalition is facilitating a coordinated response from public health practitioners, researchers and academics across the Caribbean. The Caribbean Association of Nutritionists and Dietitians has already indicated their strong support for the octagonal FOPWL system. We fully endorse their position and recommend reviewing it for consideration. With the above mentioned in mind, we call on our members to also support the implementation of octagonal front-of-package nutritional warnings on pre-packaged products.
Please see below the link to the letter in consideration of signing the letter of support for the implementation of FOPWL on labelling systems in the Jamaica and the Caribbean.
JAPINAD BOARD OF