During a recent meeting of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee, several member delegations expressed concerns about Chile’s proposed food health regulation amendments that would, among other things, require certain foods high in fat, sugar or salt to bear “STOP” sign-shaped warnings on 20 percent of the “main surface of the package.” The delegations, including Argentina, Canada, Columbia, the European Union, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and the United States, apparently contended that such requirements were not based on relevant Codex nutrition labeling guidelines, would create unnecessary barriers to international trade and had not been properly brought before the TBT Committee.

Chile apparently responded that the proposal was intended to stem the tide of the obesity epidemic and that it was needed to provide readily understandable warnings on food products. In addition to stop sign warnings such as “high in salt,” “high in calories” or their equivalent, the proposed amendments would also reportedly (i) require some foods to bear labels telling consumers to avoid excessive intake and (ii) include changes to regulate food advertising, particularly ads targeting children younger than 14. See WTO TBT Committee Report, March 13, 2013.