The brothers Sergio, a professional cook and business administrator, and Pablo Mejía, also a professional cook, began to notice, a few months ago, that getting certain products in the country’s supermarkets was being very difficult.
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Missing from the shelves were some sauces, such as teriyaki, seasonings, and dijon mustard. In particular, it was about products that are usually imported.
Through their social networks, under the name of ‘The Kitchen Brothers’, they announced that the problem came from the Resolution 2013 of 2020, from the government of Iván Duque, better known as the ‘Sodium Law’.
The Mejía brothers contacted a large multinational specializing in sauces and seasonings that informed them that they had removed more than 20 products from their portfolio as a result of this regulation.
Portafolio visited some large stores and found that dijon mustard is not available, even though it appears in stock on the supermarket websites. And on platforms like Mercado Libre the product is already marketed by prices over 200,000 pesos when before it was sold at 14,000 peSWs. What happened?
Resolution 2013 of 2020
The regulations that were issued during the Duque government sought to create guidelines for the reduction of arterial hypertension and non-communicable diseases associated with this to protect the health of Colombians.
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The resolution began to apply to food both produced in Colombia and imported. for each product a sodium limit was established per 100 grams. There were included different products such as sausages, sausages, some cereals, cookies, peanuts, ham, butter, margarine, mayonnaise, breads, cheeses, sausages, sauces and tortillas.
In the case of the Dijon mustard applied a maximum of 817 mg sodium per 100 grams of product. However, its manufacture did not allow compliance with this limit and, therefore, it began to be discontinued from the markets.
Bad way of measuring?
“The way of measuring is not correct because I cannot measure all the ingredients in the same way. The amounts that one uses of certain products per serving are minimal for the sodium in that product to become harmful“, explain the Mejía brothers.
“In the case of mustard, if one eats 100 grams in one portion, the dish is inedible,” they point out.
“There are some products like mustard, soy sauce and others that have a lot of salt per 100 grams because that is the way they are produced. It does not mean that by consuming that product you are consuming all that amount of salt. In the end the mustard or sauce that one puts into the recipe yields a much higher amount. You don’t consume soy sauce straight from the bottle in large quantities, just a little bit,” says entrepreneur Thierry Ways.
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In this sense, the experts consider that it is wrong to put this type of limits on all products widely regardless of how they are used in practice.
“They shouldn’t put sodium limits on products that are simply part ingredients of other things. The final sodium in the dish depends on the preparation. I do not mean that because the sauce in question is high in salt, the product to be eaten will be high in salt.Ways says.
Sergio and Pablo Mejía also realized that people they began to believe that since dijon mustard was prohibited it was harmful. “Food began to be demonized. The real problem is the prohibition of products that are not harmful,” they explain.
Other products that have left the market
In his most recent column in EL TIEMPO, Ways assures that there are other products that have begun to stop being seen in supermarkets. This is the case of fish sauce and anchovy juice.
The businessman acknowledges that the problem has a direct impact on manufacturers. “Manufacturers add salt to products to the extent that it is needed to give the product flavor. Salt is not only an element of flavor, it fulfills other functions related to the texture of the products, conservation and others. Salt is a functional element“, Explain.
For this reason, it ensures that when manufacturers must remove the salt from a product to lower the percentage of sodium, the functions performed by this ingredient are lost and additives or preservatives begin to be incorporated.