Welcome to this guest-post! This time I have the pleasure to host Janis Buendìa. She is a food lawyer in Panama and she will answer some questions about labelling rules in Panama.
Labelling rules in Panama
Janis, would you describe the panamese general labelling model?
Our general labeling model for Panama is based on the Codex Alimentarius Standards. Panama has been part of it since 1962. To date, the National Codex Committee, leads the management of the Codex Alimentarius in Panama, and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, through the General Director of Industrial Standards and Technology, is the main contact for the Codex Alimentarius International Commission.
Panama is currently working to strengthen this section that would provide the consumer with greater benefits when choosing a product for their health and well-being. We have laws and decrees that formalize the use of the Codex standards for the Labeling of Prepackaged Foods.
We discussed about how so many countries are now trying to protect local producers. Is it happening in Panama too? How?
Currently the Law 113 of November 18th, 2019, which establishes the mandatory use of signs that identify the origin of food products, enforces that any sensitive product must carry its respective sign in order for consumers to distinguish the original and imitations. It also establishes that all products of animal or vegetable nature, solid, liquid or processed that consumers acquire must be labeled in Spanish.
This regulation benefits and empowers Panamanian producers to protect the national heritage and their space within the agricultural sector.
The law applies to markets, supermarkets, grocery stores, shops and other commercial premises for the sale of food products.
The Consumer Protection Authority will be the entity responsible for ensuring the compliance with the provisions of the Law; in addition, this institution is empowered to impose sanctions and fines on businesses that do not comply with the provisions of the regulation.
In Panama are considered sensitive products: chicken meat, pork and its derived products (pork ribs, pork chops, cooked ham, picnic ham, cured ham, shoulders and chops of shoulder ham , pork preparations and pork ham), milk and other dairy products (fluid milk, powdered milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, curd, yogurt cheeses, among others), bovine meat, edible bovine offal and bovine meat preparations. Likewise, rice, corn, beans, tomatoes, roasted coffee, cane sugar, potatoes and onions (both fresh and refrigerated).
In Europe governments are discussing about nutrition facts label and simplified labelling. Is it happening in Panama too?
In this aspect, last year the Congress passed the Law No. 114 of November 18th., 2019 that creates the action plan to improve health and dictates other provisions to establish the selective tax on the consumption of sugary drinks and the criteria for their use.
This Law authorizes The Panamanian Food Safety Authority (Aupsa) to enforce the label in Spanish of all import and national production of sugary drinks.
According to its article 13, it is mandatory to incorporate “nutritional labeling in Spanish”.
The Panamanian Committee for the Codex Alimentarius states that the main purpose of this normative are:
- To provide the consumer with information on food, so that they can choose their diet with discernment.
- To provide an effective way that indicates on the label data on the nutrient content of the food.
- To encourage the application of nutritional principles in food preparation for the benefit of public health.
- To offer the opportunity to include supplemental nutritional information on the label.
- Do not describe a product, or present information about it, that is in any way false, equivocal, misleading, or meaningless in any respect.
Thank you Janis!
- Law 113 of November 18th, 2019.
- Law No. 114 of November 18th, 2019
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