The Ministry of Agrarian Development and Irrigation (Midagri in Spanish) published Supreme Decree No. 006-2022-MIDAGRI that amends Article 27 of the Agri-Food Safety Regulation, which provides that primary agricultural foodstuffs must have more information through their labeling, documentation, technical data sheet or relevant information.
In the specific case of imported and domestic primary processed agricultural foods, the Spanish-language label shall contain the following information:
a. Name of the food.
b. Net content.
c. Country of origin or place of origin.
d. Name and address of the holder of the sanitary authorization.
e. Name and address of the importer, if applicable.
f. Sanitary Authorization of Primary Agricultural Food Processing Establishment.
g. Lot Identification.
h. Expiration Date or best before date.
i. Instructions for use and storage”.
The regulation (twentieth additional provision) will allow companies to relabel products whose composition has been reformulated as long as the availability of certain resources is compromised for supply reasons.
Operators will therefore be able to use adhesive labels or stickers, ink-jet printing or other equivalent systems. The mandatory requirement is that they contain updated information on the ingredients replacing those previously used.
The Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC in Spanish) issued an alert to people who consume fishery products, both pre-packaged and in bulk, regarding non-compliance with the labeling information of these foods.
For bulk products, the evaluation of mandatory labeling was oriented to aspects such as the common name of the species, the country of origin of the product and, in applicable cases, the “fresh or thawed product” legend. In establishments that sell food in this presentation, the main non-compliances were the lack of the name of the species and the country of origin.
Fraudulent labeling is an emerging problem in the food industry worldwide. Many Stevia sweeteners are marketed in Paraguay, and their labels can be confusing. For this reason, 21 packs of sweetener products were analyzed regarding their degree of compliance with the labeling regulations in force in the country. All of the analyzed containers complied with the MERCOSUR regulations on food labeling, and 95.2% complied with MERCOSUR regulations on nutritional labeling. Over half of the containers did not comply with the local regulation for the naming of Stevia products. This is the first study on possible fraudulent labeling carried out in Paraguay, and it highlights the need to monitor compliance of food labeling regulations in the country.
The United Nations urged Costa Rica to identify products high in fat, sodium and sugar through front labeling. It also invited the Legislative Assembly to develop a new bill to move forward on this issue, given that bill #22.065 was recently shelved.
Nydia Amador, member of the Asociación Costa Rica Saludable, explained that in July 2020, bill 22.065 was presented to the legislative stream: “Law of front labeling of prepackaged food and non-alcoholic beverages, to facilitate the understanding and decision making of the consumer, on the content of critical nutrients and ingredients that, by their excessive consumption, represent risks to the health of people”.