The focus of the consultation is to collect contributions from market players, consumer groups and other interested parties to modernize the country’s resolution RDC nº 344/2002 on enrichment of wheat and maize flour, approved in December 2002.
World Health Organization
Enrichment of wheat and corn flour with folic acid and iron is one of the strategies developed by Brazil’s health ministry to prevent anaemia and reduce the incidence of Neural Tube Defects (NTD).
Every 100g of wheat flour in Brazil currently needs to contain 4.2 mg of iron and 150 mcg of folic acid. Consequently, all products such as breads, pasta, biscuits, cake mixtures and snacks have higher quantities of iron and folic acid.
The newly proposed changes to the existing regulation, which will come into effect 18 months after final approval, are based on the Guidelines on Food Fortification with Micronutrients published by the World Health Organization in 2006.
“Taking into account the criteria laid down in the WHO document, the band for folic acid enrichment has been calculated at 140 µg/100g to 220 µg/100g (1.4 mg/kg to 2.2 mg/kg) and the iron enrichment range was calculated at 4.0 mg/100 g to 9.0 mg/100 g (40 mg/kg to 90 mg/kg),” said ANVISA.
The newly proposed ranges for enrichment will replace earlier requirements for a minimum content of folic acid and iron that were specified in RDC nº 344/2002.
The proposal also “removes [iron] compounds with low bio availability, which could compromise the effectiveness of the anaemia prevention program,” said ANVISA.
ANVISA proposes to achieve this by cutting the number of compounds that can be used for iron enrichment from six to four: ferrous sulphate, encapsulated ferrous sulphate, ferrous fumarate and encapsulated ferrous fumarate.
All interested parties may submit their suggestions during the public consultation via Anvisa’s web portal for public consultations until November 14.
New ruling on nutritional information labeling
The Superior Justice Tribunal (STJ) in Brazil, the highest appellate court in Brazil, has ruled (case nº REsp 1537571) that ANVISA will have to ask food manufacturers to include a specific warning on food product labels informing consumers that the nutritional information on labels may vary by up to 20%.
A unanimous decision to this effect was approved by STJ’s Second Chamber after deliberating on the merits of an appeal submitted by the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) against a lower-level ruling by the Federal Regional Tribunal of the 3rd region (TRF3).
After discovering irregularities in the labeling of “diet” and “light” food products in the market, the MPF initiated the public civil action with the aim of ensuring that ANVISA orders manufacturers to include a warning on product labels.
The MPF, an independent body of prosecutors, appealed against a lower-court ruling by the TRF3 that dismissed the 20% variation in the nutritional information as “not relevant or essential information”.