Luis Planas prevails over Alberto Garzón in the ‘ice cream war’. The Minister of Agriculture maintains the veto of the Royal Decree on the advertising of unhealthy food and beverages aimed at children, which seeks to limit advertisements for products with a high fat, sugar and salt content to which children are exposed. It was the only major project pending for the remainder of the legislature in the portfolio of the head of Consumption, who had given his partner until this Friday to unlock the standard.

Both ministries have kept this dispute open since the summer of 2022, when Agriculture transferred to Consumption a report against the project in which it bet on the self-regulation mechanisms of companies and questioned the prohibitions and restrictive measures raised in the text. In addition, he defended the advertising for children of certain sugary foods such as ice creams, due to their calcium content, or juices, since they could be considered as part of the recommended daily pieces of fruit.

In February of this year, the war escalated when Planas made a staunch defense of the ice cream sector, under the premise that not all ice creams are the same and marking the difference between those purchased in supermarkets and traditional ice cream parlors. Consumption remained within the official recommendations of the World Health Organization, which does consider ice cream as sugary, and refused to remove this food from the royal decree.

Earlier this month, the minister of Unidas Podemos issued an ultimatum to his partners in the socialist area of ​​the coalition and demanded that Planas lift the veto of the norm before March 31, the deadline for the normative project to be approved during this legislature, since, after the unblocking, the text would have to go through Brussels and obtain the endorsement of the Council of State, among other procedures, before being approved by the Council of Ministers.

Once the deadline was reached, sources from the department headed by Alberto Garzón lamented “that the PSOE maintains the veto and prevents the royal decree from going ahead.” The minister has redoubled his efforts this month to try to carry out a project that he considers a “priority”, going so far as to raise the question of the veto to the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, who has supported this regulation within the framework of the National Strategic Plan for the Reduction of Childhood Obesity 2022-2030.

But Garzón’s pressure has not had an effect. Planas refuses to unblock the rule that proposed introducing some prohibitions on the advertising of certain unhealthy foods aimed at children and adolescents, such as the appearance of influencers in the ads or promotions such as gifts or raffles aimed at supporting this advertising.

A regulation that, by the way, during the consultation period received an unfavorable report from the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC), which reminded the ministry of “the legal obligation to exhaust self-regulation and co-regulation options before limiting the commercial communication”, urged him to “reinforce the specification of the norm” to guarantee legal certainty for operators, as well as “the justification” for which it is prohibited to advertise certain foods and to review the sanctioning regime that poses fines of up to 600,000 euros .

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