Brazilian draft law limits food colourings to ‘smallest quantities’ possible

10 Oct 2020

A Brazilian lawmaker is pushing for manufacturers to use the smallest quantities possible of food colourings for health reasons.

The draft Law 3313/2020 was presented in Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies by politician Dayane Pimentel of the Social Liberal Party and proposes an amendment to Article 24 of the Law-Decree Nº 986 to restrict food manufacturers’ use of food colourings.

Brazilian draft law limits food colourings to ‘smallest quantities’ possible

“The idea defended in this proposal is to maintain the competence of the federal health authority in defining what substances can be intentionally added to processed foods and within what limits this addition is acceptable, but […] as a general rule, that dyes will be added in the smallest quantities foreseen for the permitted range of use,” the draft law reads.

Larger quantities could be authorized “if there is evidence of its technological usefulness”. Manufacturers would be required to demonstrate the ingredients are necessary because they perform an additional function besides colouring.

According to Pimentel, colourants are additives that have no nutritional function in food and are added principally to improve the appearance of products, making them more attractive and eye-catching particularly to children and adolescents.

The Codex General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA), a single reference point for food additives and their use around the world, establishes maximum limits for food additives based on scientific data while in Brazil, the National Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) sets maximum limits. However, neither authority establishes minimum levels for food colours.

Pimentel’s draft bill proposes to change this approach, said David Pineda Ereño, managing director and consultant on strategy, policy, and regulation at ‎DPE International Consulting.

“When setting maximum limits of food additives, authorities evaluate whether there is a technological need for their use, that they must be safe when used, and that they must be of benefit to the consumer. Setting maximum limits on the use of food additives in foods and beverages contributes to a legal certainty,” he explained.

“It is worth highlighting that Article 24 of the Law-Decree Number 986 sets forth that: ‘The use of an intentional additive will only be allowed when […] used within the permitted limit’.

“The draft law therefore proposes to change this approach, followed internationally, to another one setting minimum and maximum levels and requiring [manufacturers] to use the minimum quantities unless there is evidence to prove the technological usefulness of the higher maximum values. This approach could perhaps affect the legal certainty provided by current regulations,” Pineda added.

Cocktail effect

According to Pimentel, manufacturers should use minimal amounts of food additives as they are associated with an increase in food allergies and intolerances.

“Scholars point to the large quantities of chemicals currently being added to industrialized food formulations as one of the possible reasons for the increase in cases of intolerance and other toxic events. They are preservatives, acidulants, flavourings, dyes, and aromas, among others,” she wrote. "Prudence, in this context, should serve as a basis for restrictive state action.”

A 2018 prospective study conducted by French researchers suggested there may be a causal link between eating highly processed food and cancer risk. The researchers, who analysed dietary data from over 104,000 individuals, offered four possible explanations for this association, one of which was the use of additives.

While regulatory authorities set maximum safe levels, these levels do not account for the cocktail effect and the impact on health of consuming many additives each day was largely unknown, the scientists wrote.

Related categories

Related tags

Blogs

Related news

Two Mexican states ban junk food sales to children: A taste of things to come?

Two Mexican states ban junk food sales to children: A taste of things to come?

28 Sep 2020

Two Mexican states have moved to ban the sale of junk food to children and a national ban may be on the cards, according to one expert. Could this be a taste of future food policy around the world?

Read more 
China’s self-heating trend heats up ready meal category

China’s self-heating trend heats up ready meal category

21 Sep 2020

Self-heating ready meals are experiencing a boom in China, catering to the country’s ‘lazy economy’, and Mintel estimates its market value will double in coming years.

Read more 
Spike in counterfeit goods could damage ‘Make in India’ initiative, warns report

Spike in counterfeit goods could damage ‘Make in India’ initiative, warns report

14 Sep 2020

Counterfeit products are rising in India and fast-moving consumer goods, including food, is in the top three worst-hit sectors. Greater traceability is needed to safeguard the national ‘Make in India’ initiative, says an industry report.

Read more 
Finding opportunities in Vietnam’s changing retail landscape

Finding opportunities in Vietnam’s changing retail landscape

7 Sep 2020

Minimarkets, specialist stores and e-commerce platforms are leading retail growth in Vietnam, providing new opportunities for brands to boost sales, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

Read more 
Beware of ‘woke washing’: Ethical branding must reflect an ethical business

Beware of ‘woke washing’: Ethical branding must reflect an ethical business

31 Aug 2020

Spanish chocolate manufacturer Lacasa is under pressure to change the name and logo of its Conguitos brand with a consumer-led petition - but experts warn against empty ‘cause marketing’.

Read more 
Federal lawsuit challenges US rules on ‘misleading’ GM labelling

Federal lawsuit challenges US rules on ‘misleading’ GM labelling

24 Aug 2020

The Center for Food Safety has filed a federal lawsuit challenging USDA rules that mean genetic modification (GM) foods are labelled as ‘bioengineered’ – a move it says reduces transparency and causes consumer confusion.

Read more 
Brazil’s food waste law will put consumers at risk, warn experts

Brazil’s food waste law will put consumers at risk, warn experts

17 Aug 2020

Recent Brazilian regulation aims to fight food waste by encouraging food donations – but it puts public health at risk, warn consumer groups and legal experts.

Read more 
UK pledges to protect food standards during trade talks but public concern remains high

UK pledges to protect food standards during trade talks but public concern remains high

6 Aug 2020

British public concerns over lowering food safety standards continue to court US trade remain steadfast as the UK and US governments gear up for the next round of scheduled negotiations later this month.

Read more 
Pressure on baby milk manufacturers intensifies over mineral oil traces

Pressure on baby milk manufacturers intensifies over mineral oil traces

3 Aug 2020

Consumer watchdog Foodwatch is calling for EU member states and the European Commission to publish the results of official tests on the presence of potentially harmful aromatic mineral oil in baby milk and infant formula.

Read more 
Flexitarians in China are revitalising the mock meat tradition

Flexitarians in China are revitalising the mock meat tradition

27 Jul 2020

Many Asian countries, China in particular, have traditions of mock meat but the region is developing a new, innovation-fuelled plant-based sector to meet the demands of urban flexitarians, say experts.

Read more