2 March 2018
Brazil Sets Limits for Contaminants in Infants’ Food, Considers Proposal to Amend Food Labelling Requirements
The Brazilian National Health Agency (ANVISA) has published a new regulation (Resolution RDC 193/17) establishing maximum tolerance limits for specific contaminants in infants’ food. The rule amends the prior limits adopted through Resolution RDC 42/13, which did not set specific limits for infants’ products. ANVISA indicated that while it is not possible to completely eliminate these contaminants from the manufacturing process it can nonetheless establish content limits that will ensure the safety of infants.
The contaminants included in the measure are inorganic arsenic, total cadmium and lead, and inorganic tin. ANVISA has established limits for each of these contaminants depending on the type of infant product. For inorganic arsenic, the limits range between 0.02 mg/kg based on seven different infant product categories. The regulations also set up seven different categories of infant foods and limits for total cadmium (0.01 to 0.10 mg/kg) and lead (0.01 and 0.15 mg/kg). For inorganic tin, the new 50 mg/kg limit applies exclusively to canned infant food. The regulations will become effective on 15 July.
Separately, ANVISA has approved the launch of a rulemaking process that may result in changes to the allergen and nutritional labels in food products. The next steps will be a formal presentation of the proposal and a public hearing discussion for each of these two issues.
Regarding the labelling of allergen ingredients in food, the proposal seeks to improve the current regulations by making them more business and consumer friendly. For example, one of the potential modifications is that foods that have only one ingredient would not need to put a warning on their label because the food itself contains the definition of the allergen. In the case of the proposal to change the nutritional labels, ANVISA is of the opinion that the way the information is currently presented does not provide sufficient information for consumers to be informed at the time of purchase about the health aspects of certain foods. Changes to the regulations for both of these labels are likely to materialise over the course of this year.