US seeks to curb junk food warning labels as part of NAFTA talks

US seeks to curb junk food warning labels as part of NAFTA talks
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The Trump administration is trying to limit the warnings labels on junk food in the U.S., Mexico and Canada as part of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations, The New York Times reported.

According to the report, the Office of the United States Trade Representative — the leader of NAFTA negotiations — is seeking to make sure all the countries in the agreement are limited in how they place labels on sugary or fatty food and drinks.

Nations have sought legislative initiatives to address obesity rates, which have doubled in more than 70 countries since 1980. A number of Latin American nations are looking to Chile as a model after it passed strict regulations in 2016 that include black warning labels on the front cover of certain food packages.

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Canada and Mexico have considered using specific shapes colors or symbols to warn people about health risks but U.S. officials want to prevent any sort of labeling that “inappropriately denotes that a hazard exists from consumption of the food or nonalcoholic beverages,” the Times reported.

The effort to prevent labeling is largely backed by major U.S. food and beverage companies.

The Grocery Manufacturers of America, which represents some of the nation’s largest food companies, has said it favors voluntary labeling and is currently trying to prevent regulations like Chile’s from being widely adopted.

The U.S. and Mexico are the world’s most obese countries, according to a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.