Thesis/Chile – Review and proposal for updating the Food Sanitary Regulations (Decree 977/96)

The prevalence of food allergies have experienced sensitivity in recent years. It is estimated that 2.5% of the population suffers from some type of food allergy, of which 90% corresponds to allergies caused by 8 internationally recognized foods, which are milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, crustaceans, fish, nuts and soy. In the present study, the different legislations related to food are reviewed, such as the Codex Alimentarius, Regulations of the European Union, Code of Federal Norms of the United States (CFR), Sanitary Regulations of Japan, Regulations of Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) and the Chilean Sanitary Regulation (DTO 977/96) based on food labeling criteria with a focus on mentions and mandatory declarations, list of ingredients and precautionary labeling. Also, the legislations regarding formulas for infants with special nutrition are reviewed and compared, considering that allergy to cow’s milk protein, APVL, has a high prevalence in infants. Food labeling is essential to inform consumers of the presence of allergens in food. The words “contains…” and “may contain…” are defined differently in different regulations. An update of the sections of the Sanitary Regulation (DTO977/96) related to these mentions is proposed in order to save the food safety of all consumers. Due to the poor supervisory capacity of the SEREMI of health, a change in the regulation of “gluten-free” seals is suggested with the purpose of decongesting the inspection system of the Ministry of Health. Infant formulas are foods considered “for special mechanisms” in all the aforementioned regulations and standards, since infants are a high-risk group that requires special treatment in legislative terms. However, formulas for infants with special nutritional needs, specifically allergic infants, are not very well regulated in most laws and regulations. Consequently, a modification in the Sanitary Food Regulations (DTO 977/96) is recommended to give greater legal protection to this vulnerable group.