South Africa Update Vol 1, #3
New Limitations on Marketing Foodstuffs to Children
The South African food and non-alcoholic beverage industry will soon be faced with another regulatory hot potato namely, draft legislation (R429/2014) restricting the marketing of unhealthy foodstuffs to children to curb obesity and obesity-related diseases. The South African Department of Health (DoH) has a point to this objective. GlaxoSmithKline named South Africa “the third-fattest nation in the world” whilst the South African Medical Research Council found six out of ten South Africans to be overweight or obese - twice that compared to the rest of the world.
Additionally, the SA National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found the overweight and obesity prevalence amongst young South African children to be 35 percent higher than the global occurrence: more than ten percent of South African children struggle with weight problems before reaching high school.
So, while other countries have decided to slow the growth of obesity, DoH has committed the country to a ten percent reduction in obesity rates. However, doing this poses some hurdles for the foodstuff industry.
The draft regulation defines “unhealthy” as any foodstuff high in energy, fat, saturated fat, sugar, or salt, as well as a foodstuff which is nutrient poor or that contains added fluoride, caffeine, fructose, aluminum, or non-nutritive sweeteners.