Under new nutritional food labeling laws - introduced amid concern about childhood obesity in Chile – products considered high in salt, sugar, saturated fats and calories may not use ‘commercial hooks’ to attract children under 14 years of age. (See box out below)
The new laws come into force on June 27, and the head of public policy at Chile’s Ministry of Health, Tito Pizarro, has been reported saying Kinder Surprise - and McDonald’s Happy Meals – would be affected by the law.
“The Kinder Surprise has a hook and will not be sold in our country,” he told Chilean radio station ADN.
'Disappointed' to learn of ban
Ferrero Group told ConfectioneryNews it had been “disappointed” to learn of the ban, and disputed that the toy in its eggs was a ‘hook.’
“The toy inside a Kinder Surprise chocolate egg is what makes the product unique, and has been essential to its formulation since it was launched over 40 years ago,” it added.
“The ‘surprise’ is the very essence of the product, with the toy designed to spark a child’s imagination.”
“In no way do we consider it to be a ‘hook’ for consumption.”
Kinder eggs banned in US
Kinder Surprise eggs are already outlawed in the US, as the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act does not allow ‘non-nutritive items’ inside confections.
Guidance from the US Food & Drugs Administration also advices that such confectionery can be detained when coming into the country as the “imbedded non-nutritive objects in these confectionery products may pose a public health risk as the consumer may unknowingly choke on the object.”
Chile's new food labeling laws
Under Chile’s incoming nutritional food labeling laws, which come into force at the end of this month, products aimed at children under 14 years of age must carry large black ‘stop’ labels if they exceed specified limits of sodium, sugar, calories and saturated fats.
One stop sign must be used for each of the nutrient levels exceeded – meaning a product could potentially have to carry four stop signs.
In addition, products that are considered high in salt, sugar, saturated fats and calories may not use ‘commercial hooks’ to attract children under 14 years of age.
Chile has introduced the laws as a result of growing concern about child obesity in the country. A 2014 OECD report found 26% of Chilean boys and 27% of girls were overweight or obese – Mexico was the only South American country to record higher levels.