Food safety, certification programmes, animal safety and disease

Livestock legislation

List the main applicable enacted legislation for primary processors of live animals.

The legal framework applicable to primary processors of live animals is regulated by several laws, executive orders and resolutions of the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as the Ministry of Production at the federal level, as well as several laws and regulations on provincial and local jurisdiction.

Argentina’s main food regulation is the Food Code, which contains the Mercosur (Common Market of the South) food standards, and other regulatory rules regarding quality, commercialisation and health standards and conditions. These regulations seek to ensure a high level of food safety, precluding the presence of any microbiological, toxicological or physical risk to public health.

On a national level, primary processors of live animals are regulated and controlled by SENASA, a decentralised entity within the Ministry of Agriculture. This entity oversees the hygiene and sanitary regulations applicable to processing and manufacturing establishments and storage facilities for animal products, among others. It is also responsible for regulating the movement of goods and animals within Argentina, and the import and export of, among others, plants, animals, food, agrochemicals and fertilisers.

The National Administration of Drugs, Food and Medical Devices (ANMAT) and the INAL are in charge of protecting human health, guaranteeing the safety, nutritional value and quality of food (and other products) that individuals consume.

The requirements for the release of livestock bound for the European Union (EU) that will be slaughtered is regulated by SENASA Resolution No. 15/03, which introduced the identification system of bovine livestock for export.

With the exception of the specific requirements imposed by certain foreign markets for the importation of meat and certain requirements established for the ‘Hilton quota’ (premium cuts of beef exported to the EU), there is no distinction made between meat for domestic consumption and meat for export in Argentina.

Food safety regime

Describe food safety regulations for meat and poultry products, and all other food products in your jurisdiction.

Decree No. 4,238, incorporated by SENASA Resolution No. 233/98, regulates standard operation procedures (POES). It requires that all establishments where animals are slaughtered, and food is developed and fractionated, apply these POES. It also establishes that a qualified employee will be responsible for checking and documenting compliance with the indicated corrective measures to prevent situations of contamination or alteration of the product and to keep the documentation available for controlling actions.

Safety enforcement

What enforcement can take place in relation to food safety? What penalties may apply?

Law No. 12,566 declares a nationwide fight against different species of cattle tick.

Cattle owners are required to use cattle dip tanks in order to eradicate parasites. Anti-parasitic products must be approved by the implementing agency.

Owners and tenants must install a livestock clipping facility for the purpose of eradicating ticks in the event that circumstances require it (eg, in regions of the country where ticks are prevalent or have spread).

With regard to penalties, fines are most commonly applied.

Product certification

Describe any certification programmes and regulations for genetically modified foods and organic foods.

SENASA Resolution No. 412/02 regulates the criteria for assessment of foods derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) (Annex I) and requirements and rules of procedure (Annex II).

Point 8 of Annex I regulates the safety of genetically engineered (GM) food. This safety assessment is to determine whether there is any danger or other nutritional concerns. The assessment in question should include a compare analysis between the food derived from modern biotechnology and its conventional counterpart, providing differences and similarities between them.

Annex II of Resolution No. 412/02 under consideration establishes that those who are interested in submitting their transgenic product’s safety study must submit a note to the SENASA. After that, the petitioner should file a technical report outlining the background and analysis of the product. It must also attach a follow-up project monitoring genetic stability and the history of approval in other countries.

The following GM products are currently marketed in Argentina:

  • RR soybean;
  • Bt corn;
  • Corn LI; and
  • Cotton Bt.
Food labelling requirements

What are the food labelling requirements, including the applicable enacted legislation, enforcement and penalties?

Food labelling is regulated by Chapter V, sections 220-246 of the Food Code. Annex II of this Chapter incorporates the Mercosur regulations (26/03 and 46/03) into the national food regulation, which should be applied to all food packaging, regardless of the country of origin.

Resolution No. 26/03 defines labelling as ‘any inscription, image or descriptive or graphic material that has been written, printed, marked, embossed or otherwise attached to the food package’.

The above-mentioned Resolution also establishes how mandatory information should be given, specifying that all packaging should contain the ingredients list (nutritional labelling), with each ingredient listed individually, net contents, data of origin, batch identification, date of expiration, and instructions for use and preparation of the product when necessary.

Resolution No. 46/03 sets forth the provisions for nutritional labelling of packaged food. Such labelling must include, among other requirements, a description of the nutritional properties of a certain food.

If the above provisions are violated, warning sanctions, fines, suspension or cancellation of registration in the respective records, temporary or permanent closure of establishments and confiscation of products can be applied.

Decree No. 274/19 was enacted in April 2019, and is related to commercial loyalty. It states that all the products sold in Argentina must indicate the following information in their labelling:

  1. product name;
  2. the country where they were produced or manufactured;
  3. its quality, purity or mixture; and
  4. measures.

If they are marketed in the country without the respective packaging, they must comply with the indications established in points (1), (2) and (3), unless as a result of a simple observation of the product arises its nature or quality.

Also, products manufactured in the country shall show the indication ‘Argentine Industry’ or ‘Argentine Production’. On the other hand, products destined exclusively for exportation are excluded from any regulatory requirement.

Food animal legislation

List the main applicable enacted legislation regarding health of food animals, including transportation and disease outbreak and management.

SENASA Resolution No. 594/15 sets forth the Technical Standard for the Food of Animals in Argentina.

In order to register a national product as animal food, the applicant must be registered with the Coordination Unit for Feed Mill Inspection (COFIAL). The process involves submitting the application form signed by a technical representative.

If the applicant would like to commercialise an imported product, it should fill in the corresponding application and attach a certificate of free sale, issued by the competent authority of the country of origin, and the product’s original packaging.

Resolution No. 594/15 also includes the application of good manufacturing practices, which are all the necessary procedures applied during food processing to ensure safety throughout the production chain.

SENASA Resolution No. 377/16 sets the Animal Health Guidelines for Family Agriculture, directed to family farmers who own animals in their establishment for breeding, fattening, meat production, milk, eggs or other food for self-consumption, direct sale or commercialisation of raw materials for the elaboration of foods of animal origin.

Animal movement restrictions

What are the restrictions on the movement of animals within your country?

The interjurisdictional transport of animals is regulated by SENASA Resolution No. 581/14. The Resolution defines ‘means of transport’ as the entire unit used in moving the animals. It is the carrier’s obligation to register the means of transport that shall be used. The Resolution also provides the essential requirement of carrying a sanitary certification card.

Slaughter legislation

Where would one find the regulations related to livestock slaughtering?

The Federal Meat Inspection Act (No. 22,375) and its complementary legislation regulate the authorisation and operation of facilities where animals are to be slaughtered.

This Act gives the SENASA the power to shut down slaughterhouses that do not comply with regulations relating to hygiene, construction, processing, etc. The SENASA must inform the local authorities of any action taken.

If any of the above provisions are violated, warning sanctions, fines, suspension or cancellation of registration in the respective records, temporary or permanent closure of establishments and confiscation of products can be enforced. Local authorities may also impose fines for matters under their control.

Also, municipal authorisation is needed to install the facilities.

Pest control requirements

Outline the regulatory regime for pesticides in your jurisdiction.

ANMAT Resolution No. 8,224/16 incorporates Mercosur Resolution No. 18/10 into the Argentine legal system, regulating domestic sanitary disinfectants (pesticides).

This regulation seeks to establish definitions, general characteristics, active substances, presentation and warnings.

The provision classifies and distinguishes between insecticides, biological insecticides and repellents. It also sets chemical quality standards for each of these composition categories.

Finally, ANMAT Resolution No. 709/98 creates the National Registry of Sanitising Products and establishes the requirements for the registration of these household products.