Article – Coexistence of high content of critical nutrients and claims in food products targeted at Brazilian children

Objective:

This study aimed to evaluate food labels targeted at children and identify the concomitant presence of claims and high levels of critical nutrients and/or the presence of sweeteners. As a secondary objective, it aimed to list different types of claims and check which marketing strategies are most used.

Methods:

We collected 409 products, from 8 popular food groups targeted at children, in Brazilian market (i.e., fruit drinks, dairy drinks, sandwich cookies, cakes, breakfast cereals, jellies, corn snacks, and yogurts). The contents of critical nutrients (e.g., sugar, total fat, saturated fat, and trans-fat, and sodium) and presence/absence of sweetener were calculated, considering Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) parameters. Then, we verified the presence and types of claims in these products.

Results:

Overall, 265 (64.7%) labels presented claims. In three of the eight categories (i.e., breakfast cereals, dairy drinks, and yogurt), all products with claims (50, 34, and 34 products, respectively) had one or more nutrients in harmful concentrations (critical nutrients above PAHO’s nutritional profile and/or presence of sweeteners). In the other categories, only one product (of 63 sandwich cookies and 26 breakfast cereals with claims) and three products (of 22 cakes and 28 jellies with claims) had no nutrient in critical concentration. The presence of claims, like “rich/source” of micronutrient, was predominant in seven of the eight food groups.

Conclusion:

In the present study, there was a high presence of claims, of different types, in foods targeted at children, which, for the most part, also have excess of at least one critical nutrient, according to PAHO.

Argentina – Future developments at the 147th Regular Meeting of the CONAL

The Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of the Nation, Juan José Bahillo, participated today in the opening of the 147th Regular Meeting of the National Food Commission (CONAL in Spanish), which will meet for two consecutive days and which has on its agenda topics such as foods entering public consultation and progress with the vegan/vegetarian and organic and inorganic contaminants working groups and others.

During the meeting, the proposed framework for fortified, added and electrolyte beverages was analyzed; the reports of different working groups were presented, such as contaminants in edible algae, rice flour, sea salt and dry brewer’s bagasse; microbiological criteria for pollen, herbs for infusions and Helix snail eggs “snail caviar” were discussed; and the inclusion of the fungus Ganoderma Lucidum in the Argentine Food Code was discussed.

Colombia – Court orders Ministry of Health to incorporate changes in labeling of ultra-processed foods

The Administrative Court of Cundinamarca ordered the Ministry of Health to modify the resolution on front labeling. Ultraprocessed foods must have a black octagonal warning with the word excess.

The Court issued a first instance judgment in order to resolve the lawsuit filed by the Colombian Corporation of Parents, Red Papaz, against the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce, the Administrative Department of the Presidency of the Republic, the Communications Regulation Commission, the National Institute for the Surveillance of Medicines and Food, the National Television Authority, Alpina Products Alimenticios S.A. and Gaseosas Tobón S.A.

The court decided to protect the right to public health of Colombian consumers arguing that the front warning labeling has a greater effect in capturing attention and risk perception.

Paraguay – Revision of the law that establishes the frontal nutrition labeling

The Chamber of Deputies is scheduled to deal this week with the Law that establishes “The implementation of nutritional front labeling”, therefore, a group of citizens is requesting that the original bill be used in order to quickly, correctly and easily identify products with excess sugars, fats, calories and sodium.

Mexico – Foreign academics send letter to Supreme Court in support of food labeling

Researchers and academics from universities in the United States, Canada, Brazil and Europe, among other countries, sent a letter to the justices of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) to express their support for front warning labeling on food and beverages.
They pointed out that it is one of the most effective measures to reverse overweight and obesity; more than 30 researches and controlled trials in Israel, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico have demonstrated that the health provision contributes to reduce the intake of sugar, salt and added saturated fats.