The Mexican state of Oaxaca is the first in the nation to ban the sale of junk food and soda to children.
Magaly López Domínguez, deputy for the XV district, introduced the bill more than a year ago. The bill—which bans the sale of sugary drinks and high-calorie snacks to minors—is aimed at curbing the country’s obesity rates.
Approximately 73 percent of the Mexican population is overweight, according to a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. As of 2016, the CIA ranked Mexico as the 29th most obese country in the world.
“It’s important to finally put the brakes on this industry, which has already sickened our country and our children,” López Domínguez said.
López Domínguez said that Mexico’s drink industry is prevalent even in “the most remote corners of the state.” In a statement, the drink industry accused the lawmaker of “satanising a strategic economic activity and a product that is the preference of millions of Mexicans.”
The Junk Food Crisis
According to the BBC, Mexico consumes more sugary drinks than any other country. Each person drinks approximately 163 liters each year. This figure is 40 percent more than the average American consumes.
The new law effectively places sugary foods and drinks in the same category as alcohol and cigarettes.
Violators of the new ban will face fines. It also applies to vending machines in schools. Officials may close stores caught selling sweets and sodas to minors.
López Domínguez said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic helped aid in the bill’s passage.
“This health emergency makes it even more evident the damage caused by the consumption of these sugary drinks,” López Dominguez explained. She continued: “Its approval was timely.”
Mexico has more than 480,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 322,000 people have recovered; more than 52,000 have died.
Of the countries most affected by the virus, Johns Hopkins University found Mexico to be the second-worst country for deaths. The United Kingdom ranked number one.