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Your regular update for technical and industry information
Pre-packaged food offers consumers around the world access to a wider variety of safe and nutritious foods and food products. And, with retail food sales in Brazil approaching $100 billion (U.S.) annually1, global food producers, distributors and retailers are increasingly exploring ways to expand their access to this important and growing market for pre-packaged foods.
However, ensuring compliance with Brazil’s food packaging requirements is a prerequisite for company’s seeking to take advantage of the market opportunities there. In this article, we’ll provide a summary of regulations currently applicable in Brazil to materials used to package food and food products.
Brazil’s food packaging regulatory structure largely reflects its commitments to it regional and international trading partners. As a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Brazil subscribes to both the WTO’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement, as well as to Codex Alimentarius (CODEX) principles. In addition, Brazil is also a member of the Common Market of the South (also known as Mercosur), a consortium whose members include Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The government of Brazil has a number of ministries and agencies that share overall responsibility for the safety of domestic and imported foods, but ANVISA (the National Health Surveillance Agency) is responsible for the development and enforcement of regulations applicable to most types of packaged food products, including regulations applicable to food packaging materials. Specifically, under Article 8 of Law No. 9782/99, ANVISA is empowered to regulate, control and supervise products and services involving public health risks, including food packaging, as well as the physical facilities and technologies involved in the food production process.
Under ANVISA regulations, packaging and equipment intended for direct contact with food shall not produce undesirable, toxic or contaminant components in quantities exceeding the maximum limits established by current legislation. Therefore, packaging materials must control the overall or specific migration that may represent a risk to human health, and/or cause changes in the composition of a food or food product or its sensorial characteristics.
Regulations Applicable to Packaging
Specific legislation covering the sanitary aspects of food packaging is organised by the type of packaging material, that is, polymeric, cellulosic, metallic, glass, textile or elastomeric. Here is a summary of the applicable regulations according to packaging material type:
General regulation on packaging and materials in contact with food
Food contact adhesives
Waxes and paraffins
Additives for plastic packaging
Glass and ceramic packaging
Packaging for fresh vegetables
Harmonisation of Regulations
As previously noted, Brazil is a consortium partner with other South American countries in Mercosur. As a result, regulations applicable to food packaging materials in Brazil are harmonised with those of Mercosur and other consortium partner nations. The information in Table 1 cross-references the Mercosur regulation with its counterpart regulation in Brazil.
Table 1: Mercosur regulations applicable to food packaging materials, and their counterpart regulations in Brazil
|Type of material||MERCOSUR regulation||Summary||Regulation of Brazilian legislation|
|General||GMC n.03/92||General provisions for materials in contact with food||RDC n.91/2001|
|Plastic||GMC n.56/92||General provisions for plastic materials||Resolution n.105/1999 - General dispositions|
|Plastic||GMC n.02/12||Positive list of polymers and resins for packaging and equipment||RDC n. 56/2012 (Repeals the annexes II, XI and XII of Resolution n.105/99)|
|Plastic||GMC n.32/07||Additives for plastics||RDC n.17/2008 (Repeals the annex III of Resolution n.105/99)|
|Plastic||GMC n.15/10||Dyes in packaging and plastic equipment||RDC n.52/2010 (Repeals the annexes IV e X from Resolution n.105/99)|
|Plastic||GMC n.32/10||Migration in materials, packaging and plastic equipment||RDC n.51/2010 (Repeals the annexes I, V, VI, XIII, XIV from Resolution n.105/99)|
|Plastic||GMC n. 55/99||Prepared Film Formers made of Polymers and/or Resins intended for Food Coatings||RDC n.124/2001|
|Plastic||There is no equivalent resolution in Mercosur||Use of amorphous carbon in virgin polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles||RDC n.146/2001|
|Plastic||GMC n. 30/07||PET after recycled consumption (PCR)||RDC n.20/2008|
GMC n. 25/99
|Multi-layer PET packaging with intermediate layer containing recycled material for carbonated soft drinks||Ordinance n.987/1998|
GMC n. 16/93
|Carbonated soft drinks returnable packaging of PET||Ordinance n.105/99 – Annex IX|
|Packaging and equipment of fluorinated Polyethylene in contact with food||Ordinance n.105/99 – Annex VIII|
There is no equivalent resolution in Mercosur
|General Criteria for Fixed EquipmentProvision, Storage and Distribution of Drinkable Water||Ordinance n.105/99 – Annex VII|
GMC n. 40/2015
GMC n. 41/2015
|Cellulosic materials for filtration and hot cooking||RDC 89/2016|
GMC n. 42/2015
|Cellulosic materials for baking or heating in oven||RDC 90/2016|
GMC n. 27/99
|Adhesives for packaging||RDC n.91/2001|
|GMC n.32/99||Analytical Reference Methodologies for Packaging Control||RDC n.123/ 2001 – Annex II|
|GMC n. 46/06||Metallic Materials||RDC n.20/2007|
|Glass and Ceramics||GMC n.55/92||Glass and ceramic materials in contact with food||Ordinance SVS/MS n.27/1996|
|Regenerated cellulose||GMC n.55/97||Films of regenerated cellulose||RDC n.217/2002|
|Regenerated cellulose||GMC n. 68/00||Regenerated Cellulose Casings||RDC n.218/2002|
|Waxes and paraffins||GMC n. 67/00||Waxes and Paraffins||RDC n.122/2001|
In general, Mercosur regulations are also harmonised with food packaging requirements in the European Union (EU), the U.S. (the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA) and Germany (the German Institute for Risk Assessment, or BfR), as well as other countries around the world. This helps to ensure that compliance with packaging requirements in one jurisdiction will make it easier to gain acceptance in Brazil.
As a major importer of pre-packaged food and food products, Brazil represents an important market opportunity for global food producers, distributors and retailers. Food packaging regulations in Brazil are extensive, but generally harmonised with packaging requirements in most other major jurisdictions around the world. However, ensuring compliance with specific requirements will benefit from seeking counsel from an experienced entity with knowledge of the packaged food industry as well as details regarding Brazil’s market access requirements.
For more information on how TÜV SÜD can assist your company in achieving compliance with Brazil’s food packaging requirements, email us at [email protected] . Or, find out more about our food packaging solutions here.
 “Global Agricultural Information Network Report—Brazil,” a report by the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), December 29, 2016. Available here(as of 6 June 2017).
Find out about the principle regulatory requirements for food packaging and food contact materials in major jurisdictions around the world.
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