February 18, 2016

ICBA Statement on PAHO’s Nutrient Profile Model


Today the International Council of Beverages Associations released the following statement on PAHO’s Nutrient Profile Model.


“We agree that obesity is a global health challenge, and ICBA and its members welcome the opportunity to work with PAHO and other stakeholders to pursue effective and practical solutions. There are some areas, however, where we believe that use of PAHO’s Nutrient Profile Model may not provide helpful guidance to consumers.  There is not current scientific consensus in all areas that the Nutrient Profile Model addresses. It will not be useful if families find that nearly 80% of the foods and beverages in their grocery carts are unacceptable. Such a radical message is not likely to be followed by most individuals.

In addition, PAHO is not looking at the totality of evidence in regards to its recommendation to avoid products with low- and no-calorie sweeteners. Regulatory agencies around the world (including Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee of Food Additives (JECFA), US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)) have recognized the safety of these ingredients, which provide consumers with lower calorie alternatives in their diet. Research also has demonstrated that these products are useful for both weight loss and weight maintenance in overweight and obese individuals. Advising families to avoid reduced-, low- and no-calorie beverages runs counter to PAHO’s public health mandate, and in fact could remove a useful tool for combating obesity.

We believe effective solutions should focus on collective efforts across government, civil society, and industry that promote balanced diets, and regular physical activity, and ICBA is prepared to do it’s part. For example, ICBA and our members have:

  • Worked to develop and provide more beverage options with fewer calories, including more reduced, low- and no-calorie product offerings.
  • Further developed smaller portion size options.
  • Developed the 2011 ICBA Guidelines on Nutrition Labeling to guide the global non-alcoholic beverage industry in advocating for and providing meaningful and understandable fact-based nutrition information.
  • Updated the 2008 ICBA Guidelines on Marketing to Children in 2015 to cover even more programming and marketing communications to children under the age of 12.
  • Established the 2013 ICBA Guidelines for the Composition, Labelling, and Responsible Marketing of Energy Drinks to help ensure such products are marketed and labeled responsibly.
  • Supported nutrition and physical activity programs, and research and partnerships that advance nutrition science.

Accordingly, we encourage governments and scientific bodies to offer food and dietary recommendations and national policies that are based on the totality of scientific evidence and provide realistic, positive encouragement to consumers to have a real impact promoting healthful diets and preventing obesity and non-communicable diseases.”

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The International Council of Beverages Associations (ICBA) is an international nongovernmental organization established in 1995 that represents the interests of the worldwide non-alcoholic beverage industry.  The members of ICBA include national and regional beverage associations, as well as international beverage companies that operate in more than 200 countries and territories and produce, distribute, and sell a variety of non-alcoholic sparkling and still beverages, including soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, bottled waters, flavored and/or enhanced waters, ready-to-drink teas and coffees, 100% fruit or vegetable juices, nectars and juice drinks, and dairy-based beverages. For media inquiries please contact ICBA’s media line at +1 (202) 463-6739 or