São Paulo’s city assembly has approved a new bill prohibiting the sale of toys coupled with Easter eggs in the city.
In its first article, the one-page bill (01-0099/2009 ) specified that São Paulo would prohibit "coupled sale of food, lunches or Easter eggs with toys”. The ban will be valid for fast food chains, diners and any other commercial establishment located in São Paulo city, Brazil's largest city.
Brazil’s consumer protection institute said the move was a positive step towards greater protection of consumer rights and public health, particularly with regards to advertising to children.
Brazil is one of the world's leading Easter egg manufacturers, according to the Brazilian Association of Chocolate, Cocoa, Peanut, Candy and Derivatives (ABICAB). In 2013, Brazilian Easter egg manufacturers sold around 80 million units domestically and the industry used 18,000 tonnes of chocolate to produce the seasonal products. Earlier this year, ABICAB estimated that Easter egg sales would increase by 5% in 2014.
For the bill, sponsored by city councilor Arselino Tatto, to become law it must be signed by São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad, both members of Brazil’s ruling Workers' Party (PT).
Ferrero’s regular Kinder eggs not under threat
Although the new bill will come into effect immediately after the mayor signs, some time will have to pass until it becomes clear which specific products are banned. Namely, São Paulo city authorities will have a period of 90 days after the mayor signs to approve the necessary by-laws that will regulate its implementation.
Nestlé, Village, Lacta, Top Cau Chocolate, Cacau Show and Chocolates Garoto are among the Easter egg producers selling products with toys aimed at children in Brazil.
Ferrero’s regular Kinder eggs - marketed as Kinder Ovo and Kinder Joy in the Brazilian market - does not seem to be covered by the new ban. Yet its range of Kinder Maxi Easter eggs containing toys may still fall within the ban's remit.
Failure to comply with the new rules could result in possible fines of R$1,500 (US$667.5), which could be doubled in case of recurrence, a revocation of business license or closure of the establishment.
Consumer watchdog welcome bill
Brazil’s consumer protection institute IDEC said it welcomed the new bill as a positive development. IDEC researcher Ana Paula Bortoletto said the new bill approved by the city assembly was fully compliant with an existing ban on sales of 'coupled products' in Brazil’s Consumer Protection Code. Furthermore, the new bill would encourage consumers to file complaints, which she said would contribute to more effective enforcement by consumer protection authorities.
“Generally speaking, food products that are sold with toys have a high amount of calories, sugars, salt and fat, and therefore, their consumption should not be encouraged,” said Paula in a statement released by IDEC. The researcher added that the strategy of tying in such products encouraged unhealthy eating habits and may contribute to an increase in chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension, especially in children.
“We hope that Mayor Haddad will sanction the bill, which has been approved almost unanimously by the São Paulo councilors, in order to guarantee consumer rights, [the rights of] children (against improper advertising) and the prevention and control of chronic diseases, especially during childhood,” she concluded.