Food safety, certification programmes, animal safety and disease

Livestock legislation

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

MAPA is the authority in charge of legislating, inspecting and controlling primary processing of food (including live animals) for domestic consumption and for export. The Department for the Control of the Origin of Meat (DIPOA) is the national agency in charge of controlling and registering primary processors of live animals. It has a decentralised structure, and DIPOA is present in every state in Brazil.

Once the establishment is inspected by DIPOA agents and it is attested that the company is in compliance with domestic or international sanitary rules, a sanitary certificate is granted to the company, which will be eligible to sell meat on the domestic market and export it. In addition to the certificate and to assure the quality and the standards of the meat as required by domestic and foreign markets, certified companies’ sales are only valid and can leave the primary processors’ establishments after a proper inspection, which is performed by SIF (MAPA’s Federal Inspection Service), which is part of and supervised by DIPOA.

All food primary processors must comply with these provisions.

Currently, Brazil has agreements for the export of meat with more than 40 countries, including countries of the European Union, Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia. MAPA is in charge of controlling the agreements that provide for sanitary obligations and other rulings to be observed by Brazilian companies to export meat to these countries.

In the case of export to a country with which Brazil has no agreement, MAPA will certify the compliance of a Brazilian exporter to the foreign country’s regulatory and sanitary provisions, and a specific certificate can be issued authorising the sale of Brazilian meat.

Law 1,283/50 and Law 7,889/89 provide for the rules relating to sanitary industrial inspection related to primary processors of live animals. Federal Decree 9,013/2017 regulates the Laws above.

Primary processors of live animals are subject to environmental licensing. Federal Law 6,938/81 and Supplementary Law 140/2011 provide that states shall govern the licensing procedure and environmental conditions required for these businesses to operate. Therefore, state and local environmental law shall apply.

Food safety regime

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

Up to 2006, the food safety regime was regulated by sparse legislation and regulations of different governmental agencies, mainly associated with the MAPA, Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Development and Ministry of the Environment, which generally provided best practice guidelines with the necessary sanitary, safety and environmental conditions for the production of food.

Law No. 11,346/2006 and the creation of the National Council for Food and Nutritional Safety (SISAN), represented by the Ministries, with the participation of organised civil society, shall elaborate and approve programmes, governmental actions and policies, aimed at assuring the Brazilian population’s health and sustainable food supplies.

Current National Food Safety Plan 2016-2019 - PLASAN provides for objectives and goals that range from access to health food, to the reduction of obesity, better control of the use of pesticides and support for family farming, among other long-term objectives.

Safety enforcement

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

Safety control of all of the food supply chain is done by multilateral governmental agencies and bodies that have joint jurisdiction over the production, manufacturing or processing, warehousing and distribution of food. In addition, there is several consumer protection agencies related to the Ministry of Justice, in charge of the control of consumer-relation food regulation, including safety provisions, nutritional information, labelling and advertisement.

Violation of such laws exposes companies to criminal, civil and administrative liabilities, which can be severe, including safety, sanitary and consumer law-related ones.

According to applicable legislation, violation of food safety regulations exposes companies to the following penalties: (i) precautionary shut-down order with the deposit of the products under inspection; (ii) search and seizure order, disposal or destruction in accordance with the law; and (iii) pecuniary penalty, the amount of which may depend on the gravity of the infraction and size of the company. According to federal law, administrative penalty can reach a ceiling equivalent to 50 million reais.

In addition, public attorneys may file class actions seeking collective moral damages and collective indemnification. Companies may be deemed obliged to proceed with product recall or to publish alerts and consumer alerts about misleading product safety information.

Product certification

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

The Brazilian biosafety legal framework comprises federal Law 11,105/2015, regulatory decree and infralegal ordinances that provide for the rules of safety, registration and control of activities related to genetically modified organisms (GMO) and related organisms. One of the purposes of this Law is to incentivise the research and development of biotechnology, aiming for the protection and health of live organisms and the environment by means of biosafety regulation.

The Biosafety National Consulting Council is directly related to the President of the Republic and its members are composed of several ministries. The National Committee of Biosafety is a multidisciplinary technical council composed of scholars and professors in different areas of expertise and technical agents of different ministries under the coordination of the Ministry of Science and Technology, whose purpose is to render technical assistance to the federal government in legislating and promoting biosafety and biotechnology programmes.

In accordance with applicable regulation, the agencies in charge of authorising and registering products and companies in their respective sectors also have jurisdiction to register and authorise the use of GMO and related organisms. Therefore, companies that use GMO in agriculture, agricultural input or for the production of food or meat come under the surveillance of MAPA or the Ministry of Health.

Some non-governmental certifying agencies play an important role in attesting non-GMO or organic food.

In any case, violation of such laws, including safety, sanitary or consumer law-related ones, exposes companies to criminal, civil and administrative liabilities, which can be severe.

Law 10,831/2003, Decree 6,323/2007 and relevant ordinances provide for the guidelines for the sustainable and organic agriculture and livestock business, establishing the parameters for the Brazilian System of Organic Conformity Evaluation. MAPA has jurisdiction to inspect and control the organic production of food, which is certified by accredited certification agencies.

Food labelling requirements

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

There are two sets of regulation that provides for food labelling: consumers’ protection rules and sanitary rules.

The Consumer Protection Code provides that labelling shall have clear, precise, objective information in Portuguese about the characteristics of the product, its quality, quantity, ingredients, formula, validity, origin, providing for any safety information about potential health risks or potential adverse injuries associated with the ingestion of the product. The manufacturer and distributor must be identified and the label shall state consumer service contact information. The Public Attorney’s Office, consumer protection agencies and specific governmental agencies control compliance with consumer protection information. Consumers can also claim any for losses and damage resulting from the violation of these rules.

The Health Agency (ANVISA) provides for the regulation of processed food labelling, which shall state, at least, the following information about the product: nutritional facts, energetic value, content of nutrients, size of the portion, weight, ingredients, formula, manufacturing date, validity, origin, providing for any safety information about potential health risks or potential adverse injuries associated with the ingestion of the product. There are some mandatory warnings, including related to allergies or to the characteristics of the product.

MAPA provides for the regulation for in nature or semi-processed food labelling (ie, meat, rice, beans, milk, fruit juice). The requirements are not as restrictive as for processed food labelling. However, given the requirements of consumer protection rules, most of the products encompass the information listed above, besides those applicable only to products in nature (ie, safety inspection stamp).

Violation of the safety, sanitary or consumer-law related laws exposes companies to criminal, civil and administrative liabilities, which can be severe.

According to applicable legislation, violation of food safety regulations exposes companies to the following penalties: (i) precautionary shut-down order with the deposit of the products under inspection; (ii) search and seizure order, disposal or destruction in accordance with the law; and (iii) pecuniary penalty, the amount of which may depend on the gravity of the infraction and size of the company. According to federal law, administrative penalty can reach a ceiling equivalent to 50 million reais.

In addition, public attorneys may file class actions seeking collective moral damages or collective indemnification, or both. Companies may be deemed obliged to proceed with product recall or to publish alerts and consumer alerts about misleading product labelling.

Food animal legislation

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

There are several sanitary regulations that provide for sanitary prevention and prophylactic programmes, including the control of cattle raising and transport, as well as the vaccine programme. Producers that do not comply with these obligations and do not prove that livestock is in line with animal health and sanitary regulations are not permitted to sell to slaughterhouses or animal food processors.

The OIE has recently recognised that Brazilian livestock is free from food and mouth disease (with or without vaccination), one of the diseases listed in the OIE. The OIE is the international body in charge of monitoring animal health and minimising the spread of important animal diseases that affect productivity. Through this organisation, an International Animal Health Code has been developed that lists various disease statuses within every country and the time frame and conditions for a country or zone to be considered disease-free under each category. Besides providing better animal health status domestically, compliance with OIE norms enables a certification of compliance with developed country standards, opening a whole raft of new export possibilities (www.fao.org) (see question 11).

Animal movement restrictions

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

Transportation of animals within the country requires the issuance of a bill of transportation (GTA), which provides information on the number of animals, their origin and destination, as well as proof of compliance with the sanitary and safety obligations. This bill of transportation has a primary safety and sanitary purpose, controlling the movement of animals within the country.

The control is done by MAPA, but the states and local authorities are empowered to act on the control and inspection of the transportation, by means of sanitary documentation on animals and relevant GTA.

Besides, there are other guidelines for the transportation of animals, to ensure animal health conditions and animal welfare standards.

Slaughter legislation

Where would one find the regulations related to livestock slaughtering?

As mentioned above, MAPA has implemented several safety and sanitary provisions that control cattle raising, cattle feedlot up to the delivery to slaughterhouse and the sales therefrom. By means of the control of the animal health conditions and standards and bill of transportations, the Ministry of Health, together with relevant state authorities control the entry of animals to the slaughterhouse.

On top of that, there are other sanitary and environmental laws relating to livestock slaughtering that will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, depending on the location and specific characteristics of the slaughterhouse (www.agricultura.gov.br).

Pest control requirements

Outline the regulatory regime for pesticides in your jurisdiction.

The regulatory regime for the pest control and pesticides in relation to crops is outlined in Law 7,802/1989, which provides for the use of pesticides and fertilisers, as well as the conditions for the final disposal of the packaging of these products. This regulation is currently being reviewed by the Congress (since 2002), and there is a bill of law being reviewed by the Senate. The changes generally relate to introducing different pesticides, which are less harmful to the environment and to human health, as well as the procedure for the approval of these substances or mixtures before health authorities.

In addition, agriculture input companies, universities and governmental entities are conducting research to develop biological control of pests in plants. The Agriculture and Livestock Research Institute of MAPA has solid expertise in the biological control of pests. However, this is still not used (or available) for large-scale agribusinesses.

In connection with animal diseases and control, as mentioned, Brazil controls the movement of animals and products, which includes veterinary checks, proof of vaccination and routine inspection (see questions 11 and 16).