The Specialized Chamber for the Defense of Competition of the Tribunal of the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (Indecopi) annulled a sanction against the company Panificadora Bimbo del Perú SA for marketing white bread without the advertising warning “Contains trans fats: avoid their consumption”, despite the fact that the product did have these oils for Peruvian law.
In July 2019, the body that watches over the health of consumers warned that Bimbo’s borderless white bread product, sold in the Wong chain, did not have the trans fat warning on its packaging, therefore it violated the Law of Healthy Eating. The fine ordered by the Commission for the Supervision of Unfair Competition arrived at the beginning of this year.
However, on September 21, the Specialized Chamber in Defense of Competition of the Indecopi Court, in which Silvia Hooker is its vice president, and also manager of International Affairs of the National Society of Industries (SNI), surprisingly decided to lift the fine considering that the Peruvian law and the Manual of Advertising Warnings “do not require parameters for trans fats.” Instead, Indecopi applied guidelines from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This also contravened the report that the General Directorate of Environmental Health (Digesa) prepared in September 2019 on this type of case. There was no room for interpretation. The law was.
The Republic tried unsuccessfully to communicate with Indecopi to collect its discharges.
According to the lawyer Jaime Delgado, this resolution constitutes a complete nonsense, since it states that if the product has less than 0.5% trans fat, it can declare it as “zero” (as if it had nothing) and is exempt from placing an octagon.
“In Peru, if a product contains trans fats, you have to place your octagon on it ‘Contains trans fats, avoid their consumption’. The rule is express, it does not say ‘from such a level a warning is given’, as it does with sugar. It is put to all. FDA regulations cannot be applied overriding national legislation. They are attacking the health of our children, “he explained.
In this way, the room would have interpreted that, since there is no stipulated amount of trans fats for the advertising warning to be mandatory, the Codex Alimentarius is now used as a reference. But, as it is not provided for in Codex either, it should be guided by the provisions of the FDA.
“The argument is the same one that a sector of the industry has been making in the sense that the FDA regulation so provides. In this way, the North American norm prevails over the Healthy Eating Law 30021 and the Consumer Protection and Defense Code ”, he added.
The also founder of the Peruvian Association of Consumers and Users (Aspec) explains that, beyond the 6 UIT of fine that Bimbo freed with this express acquittal, the decision marks a terrible precedent for the country’s food security, since, from now on, any other product that contains less than 0 , 5 grams of trans fat per serving may be declared free of them.
“In 2019, the Bimbo white bread version declared 0.7% Ttrans fat, in 2021 it declared 0% trans fat. We wonder, have they reformulated their product? If so, good for them and the consumers. Or is it that now they declare 0%, even though they contain them, because this is how Indecopi has authorized them in its resolution, which allows, according to a North American standard, to declare it as zero if it has less than 0.5 grams per serving ? ”, He underlined.
As if that were not enough, thanks to questionable decisions like this there are today “many products like Alicorp’s Mini Choco V cookie” that have trans fats and do not say it or declare it as zero based on the FDA criteria, he refers.
“They are forcing us to eat blindly. This is a violation of the law ”, stated Delgado.
Conflict of interest in Indecopi
Both Jaime Delgado and the National Council of Consumers and Users Associations of Peru denounce that Silvia Hooker, in addition to being vice president of the Specialized Chamber for the Defense of Competition of the Indecopi Court (together with Ana Martinelli and José Perla), is also a manager at the SNI, a private organization that groups together the Peruvian business community in the manufacturing industry and “which has Bimbo among its star partners.”
“They have ordered that the laws of the United States FDA prevail over Peruvian law, which is absurd. Here is a very clear conflict of interest not seen by the man Julian Palacin, and it has not been the only case, ”Delgado snapped.
Should. According to Delgado, the highest authority of Indecopi, Julián Palacín, has to take action on the matter to challenge or observe these resolutions of the specialized committee that contravene public health.
Record. Hooker has been challenged on previous occasions for participating in reversals of first instance decisions in Laive, Aval, Arcor, Molitalia, Gloria and Backus cases.
Jaime Delgado, lawyer
“Trans fats block your arteries, which is why our legislation has already banned them. In Peru, if a product contains trans fats, you have to put its octagon on it (…). They are attacking the health of our children ”.
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