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Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910

Abstract

LOBANCO, Cássia Maria; VEDOVATO, Gabriela Milhassi; CANO, Cristiane Bonaldi  and  BASTOS, Deborah Helena Markowicz. Reliability of food labels from products marketed in the city of São Paulo, Southeastern Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2009, vol.43, n.3, pp. 499-505.  Epub Apr 03, 2009. ISSN 0034-8910.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102009005000020.

OBJECTIVE: To assess reliability of information about nutritional facts stated on labels of foods marketed. METHODS: A total of 153 industrialized foods, usually consumed by children and adolescents and marketed in the city of São Paulo, Southeastern Brazil, between 2001 and 2005, were analyzed. Nutrient contents stated on labels were compared to the results obtained from official (physical-chemical) analytical methods, considering the 20% variability tolerated by the current legislation to approve or reject samples. Means, standard deviations, 95% confidence intervals for the nutrients analyzed, and the distribution of percentage frequency of samples rejected were calculated. RESULTS: All salty products analyzed showed non-compliance of dietary fiber, sodium and saturated fat content. Sweet products showed variation between zero and 36% of rejection due to their dietary fiber content. More than half (52%) of cookies were rejected due to their saturated fat content. Nutrients associated with obesity and its health problems were those showing the highest proportions of non-compliance. Lack of reliability of label information in the samples analyzed violates the regulations of the Resolution of the Collegiate Board of Directors RDC 360/03 and the rights guaranteed by the Nutritional and Food Safety Law and Consumer Protection Code. CONCLUSIONS: High indices of non-compliance of nutritional data were found on labels of foods aimed at children and adolescents, indicating the urgent need for surveillance practices and other nutritional labeling measures.

Keywords : Food Labeling; Nutritional Facts; Industrialized Foods; Legislation, Food.

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