In 2018, the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), began the revision of the Draft CARICOM Standard on the labelling of Pre-Packaged Foods. The new draft standard, which is at an advanced stage of development, includes a Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labelling (FoPNL) or Front-of-package Label (FoPL) system consisting of warning messages for foods, with added nutrients of public concern, when they exceed thresholds determined by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Nutrient Profile Model (2016). The proposed format containing the warning messages and the related thresholds in the CARICOM Draft Standard establishes a new scheme for CARICOM Member States.
Several members of the food and beverage industry have already voluntarily implemented FoPNL schemes, and utilize, among others, the US Facts Up Front (US FuF) or the EU Guideline Daily Amounts (EU GDA). These schemes are aligned with major trading partners for the CARICOM Member States, hence consumer familiarity exists.
In addition, Trinidad and Tobago conducted a Polit Study within its jurisdiction over the period 2018 to 2020, where 281 products labels were assessed against six FOPNL schemes. The schemes tested included the CROSQ proposed “High-In” Octagon Warning Messages with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO Threshold, those which may enter the markets of CARICOM Member States from major trading partners and Chilean Phase 3 thresholds: (US Fuf, EU GDA, UK Color Coded Guideline Daily Amount (UK GDA), Canadian High -IN Model (Canadian HI), Chilean Stage 3 (Chilean S3) and Octagon High-in Symbol with PAHIO Nutrient Profile Model (PAHO NP). The results of this Study provided sufficient evidence to support the need to conduct an Impact Assessment with CARICOM to shed light on issues important to a wide range of stakeholders and prior to proposing any FoPNL.
Although the CARICOM Labelling Standard once published, will be a voluntary standard, its possible subsequent adoption as a mandatory standard/technical regulation, by CARICOM Member States (either in its identical or adapted form), would pose a significant intra-regional trade barrier should each Member State opt for differing FoPNL schemes.
Source Content: CARICOM Impact Assessment: Determination of an Appropriate FoPNL Scheme and the Identification of a Harmonized Approach for Implementation (Published April 2022)
The Jamaican Government’s Official position on FOPL implementation
It is important to state publicly that the Jamaican Government, on a whole, is fully supportive of the introduction of FOPL for pre-packaged foods in Jamaica, noting its strength in the fight against NCDs and obesity. It is further important to also note that the Government of Jamaica has never voted against the inclusion of the High-In Octagon Model of FOPL in the informative annex of Revised CRS 5: 2010 Standard Specification for the Labelling of Pre-packaged Foods. The position of the Jamaican Government remains that other FOPL labelling models must be included, along with the High-In Octagon Model in the Caricom Standard.
The only way of guaranteeing that additional FOPL models are added to the draft standard is to “not accept”, with comments, the current draft as presented; commenting that additional FOPL models, in line with our major trading partners, should be included prior to the approval of the standard. This ministry recognises that this position is point of difference among advocates for health, but maintains that this is the most logical position in the interest of balancing trade, public health, and industry.
The current decision by the Government allows for greater flexibility in any final decision by the Jamaican Government, in collaboration with its stakeholder, including health advocates. Where other options are included the Government may, at a later date, select from the options presented based on our specific cultural, practical and legislative realities or develop its own unique model.
Source Content: Introduction of front of package labelling in Ja — A policy perspective
Photos of the Types of FoPL Models:
CARICOM DCRS5: Octagon ‘High In’ Warning Labels.
US: Facts Up Front
Mexico: Octagon System “High In” Warning Labels