Nutrition Facts Labeling in Brazil
Nutrition fact labels are essential in order to know exactly what ingredients are in each food or beverage. In this article you will learn more about the Brazilian label for these products.
The use of nutrition facts labels in Brazil has been regulated and obligatory since 2001, but currently it is the revised resolution, created in 2006, which is being used. Brazil was the third country to require of nutrition fact labels on the products, being only behind Israel and the United States.
Moreover, Brazil leaded the implementation of a unique nutrition facts labeling system for Mercosur, which became the first trade bloc to have such system. The measure not only facilitates the process of movement of food, but also avoids technical obstacles to trading and improves information for consumers.
Products that Don't Need Nutrition Labels
Nutritional labeling is necessary in all food and beverage produced, commercialized and packed without the customer witnessing the process. There are some products, though, in which labeling is not necessary:
- mineral water and any other type of water destined for human consumption
- alcoholic beverages
- spices, such as black pepper, caraway, nutmeg and cinnamon
- coffee, yerba mate, tea and other herbs that don't contain other ingredients
- food prepared and packed in restaurants and other food and beverage establishments, ready for consumption, such as pre-packed sandwiches, desserts like flan, mousse, fruit salads and other similar products
- refrigerated or frozen fruits, vegetables and meat
- products which are sold in portions and divided an the same place where they are sold, commercialized as pre-measured. Sliced products such as cheese and cold cuts
- products whose packages are smaller than 100 square centimeters, except the ones for special purposes or the ones that present statement of nutrition properties.
Brazilian Nutrition Label
In Brazil, the nutrition label regulating institution is Anvisa, and it requires the coverage of specific information. The topics that the Brazilian nutrition labels must contain are:
- caloric value
- total fat
- saturated fat
- trans fat
- dietary fiber
In addition, it is also necessary to specify the serving size of the package and the “medida caseira”, which is the measurement that consumers usually use when they prepare their meals at home. For instance, slices, teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, units and so on.
Nutrition labels must also contain the %VD, which is the percentage of daily values that each nutrient presents. Below you'll find the daily values of reference to each one of the nutrients. There isn't a daily recommendation for the consumption of trans fat, which is why it is not on the list:
|Caloric value||2000 kcal / 8400 kJ|
|Total Fat||55 g|
| Saturated Fat ||22 g|
|Dietary fiber||25 g|
Anvisa decided that, from 2002 on, there should be other information apart from the nutrition facts: the brand of the food, a list of ingredients, its net amount, volume/weight the country origin, the lot identification, the expiration date and cooking instruction, when necessary.
Brazilian nutrition labels are not required to include four topics that are covered by some foreign labels: the percentages of vitamins A and C, calcium and iron. However, there are other topics which should be covered, according to new rules.
In 2012, it was instituted that there should be more information in nutrition facts labels, in order to improve and increase in the availability of consumer. The idea is to protect consumers against incomplete and potentially misleading information, for instance cases of vegetable oil without cholesterol, for instance. In this situation, companies must state that all vegetable oils don't contain cholesterol – in other words, that this is a characteristic of the product and doesn't vary according to the brand.
There has been a review in the use of some words as well. For instance, the term “light” can only be used to designate a product which has had the amount of one of its ingredients decreased in relation to the original product version. To state that a product is protein-rich, it will be necessary to prove that the protein is of good quality.
The new Anvisa's resolution will also change the calculation basis that must be presented on the labels. Instead of the current 100 mg or ml used for the calculations, this will now be made taking into consideration the whole portion. So, for example: to say that a product is free of sugar, it was necessary that this product had less than 0,5g of sugar in each 100g. As of 2014, it will be considered a sugar-free product only that which has less than 0,5g per portion.
Companies have until January 1, 2014, to follow the new regulation procedures. Products manufactured before this date can be commercialized until the expiration date has expired.