Trade agreements are increasingly recognized as playing an influential role in shaping national food environments and the availability and nutritional quality of the food supply. Using the INFORMAS trade monitoring protocol, investigators reviewed available food supply data to understand associations between Fiji’s commitments under WTO trade agreements and food import volume trends. The study suggests that Fiji’s WTO membership, in conjunction with associated economic and agricultural policy changes have contributed to increased availability of both healthy and less healthy imported foods. The study highlights an increase in healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole-grain refined cereals. The study also shows that there has been an increase in less healthy foods including fats and oils; meat; processed dairy products; energy-dense beverages; and processed and packaged foods. Monitoring the trends of imported foods at country level from the perspective of trade agreements, we enable the development of appropriate and targeted interventions to improve diets and health and inform national health interventions to identify areas of concern.
Citation: Ravuvu A, Friel S, Thow AM, Snowdon W, Wate J. Monitoring the impact of trade agreements on national food environments: trade imports and population nutrition risks in Fiji. Global Health. 2017;13(1):33.
Interpretive nutrition labels provide simplified nutrient-specific text and/or symbols on the front of pre-packaged foods, to encourage and enable consumers to make healthier choices. This type of labelling has been proposed as part of a comprehensive policy response to the global epidemic of non-communicable diseases. However, regulation of nutrition labelling falls under the remit of not just the health sector but also trade. Specific Trade Concerns have been raised at the World Trade Organization’s Technical Barriers to Trade Committee regarding interpretive nutrition labelling initiatives in Thailand, Chile, Indonesia, Peru and Ecuador. This paper presents an analysis of the discussions of these concerns. Although nutrition labelling was identified as a legitimate policy objective, queries were raised regarding the justification of the specific labelling This analysis indicates that while there is potential for trade sector concerns to stifle innovation in nutrition labelling policy, care in how interpretive nutrition labelling measures are crafted in light of trade commitments can minimize such a risk and help ensure that trade policy is coherent with nutrition action.
Full Citation: Thow AM, Jones A, Hawkes C, Ali I, Labonté R. Nutrition labelling is a trade policy issue: lessons from an analysis of specific trade concerns at the World Trade Organization Health Promot Int (2017) daw109.