Food safety, certification programmes, animal safety and disease

Livestock legislation

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

The applicable legislation for primary processors of live animals in Chile are as follows:

  • The Meat Act (Law No. 19,162) sets the mandatory classification system of cattle, classification and nomenclature of their meats and regulates the operation of slaughterhouses, cold storage and establishments of the meat industry.
  • Subsequently, in June 2009, an amendment to Law No. 19,162, Law No. 20,358 also establishes a system of traceability of cattle and meat.
  • General Technical Standard No. 62 regulates medical veterinary inspection of slaughter animals and their meat, and qualification criteria for eligibility for human consumption.
  • General Technical Standard No. 117 regulates the veterinary health inspection of poultry and meat.
  • Additionally, Supreme Decree No. 977 approves the Food Health Regulations, which sets out the health conditions that all production, import, processing, packaging, warehousing, distribution and sale of food products for human use shall observe, to protect the health and nutrition of the population and ensure the supply of healthy and safe food products.
  • Law No. 18.755 creates the Agriculture and Cattle Services, which aims to contribute to the country’s agricultural development through the protection and maintenance of animal and plant health, and establish the norms for achieving it.
  • The Sanitary Code regulates all matters related to the promotion and protection of sanitary health.

SAG should ensure that all livestock products for export (products for human and animal consumption and inedible use) comply with the national regulation and animal health requirements of importing countries for products of animal origin in accordance with the degree of protection required by their own health status as for the guidelines of international organisations related to animal health and food safety.

Exporters require official certification to trade products of animal origin, which corresponds to an official document, entitled Export Animal Health Certificate, in which the official veterinarian attests that what is being exported meets the requirements of the importing country.

For issuing and signing this certificate, the official veterinarian has the necessary endorsements of instruments and programmes applied by SAG, along with the relevant documentation.

Food safety regime

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

There are a great number of provisions that regulate food safety in Chile. They include basic provisions on the means of transportation of agricultural commodities to criminal provisions regarding the protection of human health.

The main regulations regarding food safety in Chile are:

  • Supreme Decree No. 977/96: Food Sanitary Regulations;
  • Supreme Decree No. 594/99: Regulations on basic sanitary conditions in the workplace;
  • the Sanitary Code;
  • Decree No. 157/07: Regulation of pesticides for sanitary and domestic use;
  • Decree No. 118/2015 on hazard analysis and critical control points in food establishments;
  • Law No. 18,164: Customs, Admission and Import of Goods Act; and
  • Decree (DFL) No. 1/89 on sanitary authorisations.

SAG is responsible for enforcing Chile’s import regulations concerning:

  • alcoholic beverages;
  • organic food;
  • animal and plant quarantine; and
  • the grading and labelling of beef and some processed food products, both for human and animal consumption, including pet food, feed and feed supplements.

The Ministry of Health is responsible for food sanitation, including meat and poultry and the approval of food ingredients, labels and packaging of processed foods. The regional secretaries of the Ministry of Health are in charge of monitoring compliance with the food safety regulations.

Safety enforcement

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

To verify compliance with health regulations - including resolutions that have been issued to this effect - the health authority is legally entitled to carry out a preventive inspection of any site, either publicly or privately owned, and its products. A record of the proceedings will be made.

In the event of non-compliance with the current legislation, the health authority may issue a resolution admonishing the offender and establishing compliance of some conditions. If the offender fails to comply, a summary procedure will be initiated against him or her.

The possible penalties include:

  • warnings;
  • fines ranging from 0.10-1,000 UTM (an indexed monthly unit; as of September 2018 1 UTM is equal to 48,016 Chilean pesos);
  • closure of the establishment where the offence was committed;
  • withdrawing of the sanitary authorisation that enables the establishment to be in operation;
  • stoppage of works;
  • confiscation of goods, facilities or work items; or
  • destruction of products or goods by any method or procedure, if there is grave risk of harm to health.

Title III of the Sanitary Code regulates sanctions and penalties regarding health regulations, including food safety. Articles 314a to 318 regulate the criminal penalties regarding crimes against public health.

Product certification

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

SAG is responsible for establishing the standards and procedures for the import and release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) under biosafety measures (regulated through Resolution No. 1,523/2001). Within the extent of its functions, SAG has implemented a system of risk analysis for controlled release into the environment of GMOs. SAG monitors all transgenic products in the country to maintain full traceability of the material.

Regarding organic foods, Law No. 20,089 created the National Certification System of Agricultural Organic Products, which establishes the marketing conditions of organic products or their equivalent. One of these conditions is that all organic, biological or ecological products must be duly certified by an entity registered in the Register of the National Organic Certification System.

Food labelling requirements

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

Food labelling is regulated in Chilean legislation through Supreme Decree No. 977 approving the Food Health Regulations, specifically in Title II ‘Foods’, paragraph two ‘Of the labelling and advertising’. All food products that are stored, transported or dispensed in packages must bear a tag or label containing the following information:

  • the name of the food;
  • net content;
  • country of origin;
  • number and date of the resolution and the name of the health service authorising the establishment that produced or packaged the product;
  • date of the product’s processing or packaging;
  • expiration date or duration of the product;
  • ingredients;
  • additives;
  • nutritional information;
  • instructions for storage;
  • instructions for use; and
  • in the case of imported products, the name and address of the importer will be required.

In relation to genetically modified foods, organic foods or other differentiated products, this shall be mentioned on the label. Any breach of these rules will be sanctioned by the health services in that territory, provided the breach has been proven in accordance with the provisions of the Health Code (see question 13).

On this point, it is important to mention Law No. 20,606 regarding the nutritional composition of food and its advertising, as well as Law 20,869 relating to food advertising and Decree No. 33 amending the Food Sanitary Regulations, although they do not directly affect primary agricultural products, they could have an impact on their derived products and the conditions for labelling and advertising them.

Food animal legislation

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

The health of animals intended for human consumption, including means of transport and handling of disease outbreaks, is regulated by:

  • Supreme Decree No. 977 approving the Food Health Regulations. Specifically Title I, paragraph X ‘on requirements for the inspection of animals and their meats’ and paragraph XII ‘on hygienic requirements for the transportation and sale of raw milk’;
  • General technical Rule No. 54, approved by exempted Resolution No. 2319/2000, on veterinary medical inspection of poultry and its meat;
  • Decree No. 29, which approves the regulation on protection of animal welfare during industrial production, commercialisation and other animal storage facilities;
  • Chapter 7.6, article 7.6.5 of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE);
  • Resolution No. 2,153 (1997) on the transit of livestock products and inputs; and
  • Exempted Decree No. 53 (2007) of the Ministry of Agriculture, which mandates that animals may only enter the country through the approved ports and airports.
Animal movement restrictions

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

Some restrictions regarding the movement of animals are established in General Technical Standard No. 54 approved by Exempt Resolution No. 2319/2000 on veterinary health inspection of poultry and meat during industrial production, marketing and other animal maintenance enclosures.

Article 5 states that:

The movement of animals should be done calmly and without harassment, respecting the natural rhythm of the animals and avoiding handling that could cause injury or unnecessary suffering.

The use of instruments is authorised, such as mechanisms of compressed air, flags, dusters, plastic bags and rattles, among others, to encourage and direct the movement of the animals.

Animals’ eye contact with each other should be prevented. This condition shall not apply where animals are mobilised by a sleeve or when the animals are in pens, isolated and/or under observation.

In case of using electric fences, they should only cause discomfort, avoiding pain and unnecessary suffering.

Slaughter legislation

Where would one find the regulations related to livestock slaughtering?

Regulations related to livestock slaughtering are:

  • the Meat Act on traceability of stock and meat has specific provisions on slaughterhouses;
  • Resolution No. 8,203/2015 concerns traceability of industrial production of poultry and bovines;
  • Decree No. 32 of 19 January 2004 establishes the basic rules for accredited entities that may certify slaughterhouses, among other certifications; and
  • Decree No. 28 of 5 June 2012 establishes the regulation for protection of animals that are used for meat, fur, feathers and other products processed in industrial facilities.

According to the aforementioned regulation, the acceptable methods of slaughter are those set out in Chapter 7 (specifically 7.6) of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code of OIE.

Pest control requirements

Outline the regulatory regime for pesticides in your jurisdiction.

Specific authorisation must be obtained from SAG (as set out in Resolution No. 3,138/1999 modified by Resolutions 2,567/2003 and 1,995/2000, Ministry of Agriculture) for:

  • livestock production facilities;
  • breeding;
  • slaughtering; and
  • processing animals or animal products for export or import into Chile.

Authorisation is based on verification and analysis of technical and scientific information and compliance with specific health requirements, relating to the sanitary quality of animals and product safety.

There are different sanitary requirements depending on the animal, whether domestic or non-domestic, for semen (from cattle, camelids, dogs, horses, goats, sheep and pigs) and other animal products, which can be found at www.sag.gob.cl/ambitos-de-accion/informacion-por-productos-exigencias-sanitarias-especificas (English version link is currently broken as checked on September 2018).

SAG can suspend the import of a species and prevent the introduction into of contagious infectious disease-causing agents that affect animals. For instance, Resolution No. 5,093/2014 suspends the importation of live pigs and blood derivatives from countries infected with the new variants of the porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED) virus.

The main regulation regarding pest control and pesticides, and other management in relation to disease and pest in plants and animals in Chile are:

  • Resolution 33, which sets maximum residue levels on pesticides;
  • Law No. 18,755;
  • Decree No. 3,557; and
  • Decree No. 157.

Most of the provisions on pest control and pesticides will grant authority to SAG to establish all necessary measures on this subject.

With regard to pest control, SAG will have the authority to verify the existence of a pest, and the necessary measures to control it, such as quarantine or destruction. The affected party may dispute SAG’s resolutions before a court of law.

With regard to pesticides, the aforementioned Decree No. 3,557 gives SAG the necessary authority to oversee manufacturing, import, distribution, sale and application of pesticides.

Decree No. 3,557 establishes an objective type of liability for any and all damage provoked by the application of pesticides, which used to be an exception under Chilean law.

A modification to the Sanitary Code has established an objective type of liability as the general rule for defective sanitary products, which includes food and food products for human consumption, pharmaceutical products, and others.

Article 111J of the Sanitary Code states that the victim of damage stemming from a defective sanitary product will only need to prove the damages that they have sustained, the defect of the product and the link between the two.

Article 111K of the Sanitary Code states that the respondent cannot avail itself as defence to the claim for damages regarding a defective sanitary product, those damages stemming from circumstances or facts that could not be anticipated in reason of the current state of the art at the time in which the product was place on the stream of commerce.