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They want to change food labels: know the new options

They want to change food labels: know the new options

Answer sincerely: you can understand the food labels, compare and choose the best option in the market? If your answer is no, you are part of the 75% of Brazilians who also can not do this, according to a survey by the Brazilian Institute of Consumer Defense (IDEC). This is because of the complexity of the information contained in both the label and the list of ingredients that many products carry.

"Idec has already done research in previous years, which indicated that people have difficulty understanding today's nutritional chart Among the reasons cited were the small size of the letter, the need for calculation because of the portion referring to nutritional values, technical terms, visual pollution, a little hidden location of nutritional information, among others ", explains For all these problems, since 2014 the National Agency of Sanitary Surveillance (Anvisa) and a working group that involves experts in the subject, associations and consumer protection bodies, are studying the best. the food labeling model in Brazil, which has been in the same pattern since 2003. The project is expected to have a

Since then, some labeling models have been developed by the working group, based on research and even the example of other countries in some cases, and all are under analysis by Anvisa and should go to public consultation in the coming months.

Labeling models under analysis

The proposals are generating great debates between associations and bodies that act directly on the change project. Each group advocates a different approach in packaging, some are more radical, others believe that this will only bring food terrorism to the population. However, according to nutritionist Carlos Alberto Nogueira de Almeida, from the Brazilian Association of Nutrology (ABRAN), Anvisa will not opt ​​for one of the models presented. "Anvisa will have its own model and they are accepting suggestions to increase the project itself," he points out.

According to Anvisa, most of the proposals submitted by the members of the working group focused on guided nutritional labeling models by color, with indications on the front of the food. Some proposals also included changes in the nutritional chart or other composition information, such as the list of ingredients and composition warnings.

Proposal 1

Photo: Disclosure / Anvisa

Frontal nutritional labeling model, with warning in the form of a red circle when the food contains a high amount of sugar, fat and sodium. Complementing this information, the product would also bring a simplified table with up to 8 food components, with stoplight colors to highlight high (red), medium (yellow) and low (green) values ​​of the components. In addition to this table with colors, an additional table was proposed for the declaration of a larger number of food components.

Proposal 2

Semaphore model with information in portions Foto: Divulgação / Anvisa

Uses traffic light colors on the front labeling for sugars, total fats, saturated fats and sodium, and brings quantitative information about nutrients in portions. In a secondary table, it would bring nutrient data foreseen in RDC 360/03 (mandatory nutrition labeling data, provided by law) in 100g of the food and, in a complementary and optional way, per portion and with Percent Daily Value (% DV) .

This model brings in the frontal labeling of the packaging alerts in octagons of black color, with white border, informing the presence of high contents of sugars, sodium, total fats , saturated fats, trans fat, presence of sweeteners (sweeteners) and food additives. The information stated would be based on 100 grams or 100 ml of the food.

Proposal 4

Frontal labeling with alerts in the form of black triangles - Photo: Disclosure / Anvisa

in the form of black triangles, which report high levels of sugar, sodium, fat, saturated fat, trans fat and sweetener with a white background. The proposal also suggests changes in the list of ingredients and in the nutritional information table, as well as highlighting in yellow the excess components in the nutritional table located on the secondary panels (lateral or back).

Proposal 5

Model ranks the food by an evaluation of the total composition of the product - Photo: Disclosure

Called Nutri-Score, the model has in the package a note for the food, which goes from A to E, A being the most positive and E the most negative. The classification of the food is made by evaluating the total composition of the product and not the ingredients isolated and in specific portions. It evaluates the balance between nutrients considered "positive" (fruit, vegetable, fiber and protein content) and "negative" (energy, fat / saturated fat, total sugars and sodium) on a 100g basis. will be tailor-made for Brazil

The frontal nutrition labeling models presented are adaptations inspired by the United Kingdom (nutrient semaphore), Chile (warnings) and France (Nutri-Score) models. Although the above models are the main ones in the analysis, there are other options that can also contribute to the construction of the new Brazilian model. An example is the one adopted by Ecuador, which mixes concepts used in both the traffic light and the warning model:

Model used by Ecuador - Photo: Press / Anvisa

There are currently no published scientific studies comparing the effectiveness of models in order to increase understanding of food and the promotion of better food choices. In addition, the agency says that the models used in other countries can not be copied in Brazil without a very complex analysis, because here there are strong differences in educational level and knowledge about nutrition. Anvisa points out that all proposals will be very well studied, modified and improved for the Brazilian scenario.

Entities are divided on proposed models

This is what members of the Brazilian Food and Nutrition Society (SBAN) believe. "We understand that the consumer has to be empowered, and for that, he has to be nutritionally educated." There are measures that are too shallow, such as putting symbols on the front in black, that the person hits the eye and does not consume. In the whole area of ​​nutrition there is no food that does only harm, unless it is spoiled. A high-fat food will not affect your health, but rather the amount and the frequency that you consume, "explains Marcia Terra, a nutritionist and member of SBAN's board.

SBAN believes in the use of traffic lights on packages, indicating the rate of sugars, total fats, saturated fats and sodium present in the food , in three different scales: high, medium and low quantity. "The label will not explain what you should eat or not, it is a tool only, the label should not be a sign of what is good or bad," she adds.On the other hand, the black warning pattern on the front of the packaging is defended by IDEC. This warning model was inspired by the pattern used in Chile. In that format, critical ingredients that had high levels in the product would have prominence in the packaging. "Other countries are already adopting this model, Israel has just started using this model, Canada is adopting a warning model, Uruguay is close to approving this law," says Laís, IDEC nutritionist. these changes are to guarantee the right to information for the consumer.With the symbol the person would already know that food is harmful to their health.With that, we will have more conscious and healthy food choices, is the main objective of our proposal, "ABRAN is already betting on Nutri-Score as the best way out of this clash, coming as something additional to the model we currently have." Our current label is excellent, we have very good legislation, we have an excellent nutritional chart The idea is to decode some information from this label and turn it into quick information for the consumer. "

What everyone wants: greater access to information

Despite the clashes generated by the proposed labeling models, Anvisa and the entities involved in the theme expect that it will the population can understand what they buy, take them home and consume, thus increasing the level of nutritional education in Brazil. And this question is becoming more and more urgent: according to the Ministry of Health, obesity has grown 60% in the country between 2006 and 2016, which shows that something is wrong in the Brazilians' home and that these changes are extremely necessary.


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