On August 29, 2018 the Executive branch approved Decree 272/018 requiring use of front-of-package labels on food products containing excess amounts of certain compounds as specified in the Decree.

Compliance with the Decree is mandatory for companies that prepare, import and/or split pre-packaged food ready for use in Uruguay, to which sodium, sugars or fats exceeding the limits set have been added. The Decree establishes certain exceptions.

Products covered by the Decree must bear one or more of the following front-of-package labels – in line with the terms of the Decree - as applicable.

Although the new Decree is already in force, it provides a term of 18 months (ending on February 29, 2020) for companies to comply with the new rules.

Additionally, the Executive sent the Legislature a bill of law with the same contents as the Decree (probably to thwart certain challenges as to the constitutionality of the new Decree), but extending its scope.

For example, the bill of law would require regulated companies to include the labeling in all product advertising. Likewise, it will prohibit inclusion of persuasive elements that may mislead the consumer or induce purchase of the product, such as gifts, contests, games, or include other elements targeted at attracting children.

Finally, moves are currently being made to amend MERCOSUR's food products labeling legal provisions, so we cannot rule out the development of new regional regulations in this connection.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.