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Labelling dangerous brands: ANVISA resolution may hit constitutional problem

In June of this year, Brazil's Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária: ANVISA, the National Health Surveillance Agency) issued Resolution RDC 24 on advertisements for food products containing high amounts of sugar, saturated fat, transfats and sodium, as well as beverages with low nutritional value, the idea being to require manufacturers to provide information necessary to protect public health to protect children against advertising messages that induce bad eating habits. Regarding the latter, warnings must be given in the following form:
[TRADE MARK] contains a high amount of sugar and, if consumed in large quantities, increases the risk of obesity and cavities.
The new warning statements require a direct association between the producer's mark and the warning message. Critics argue that the warnings may mislead consumers by implying that some brands are more harmful than others.

It is reported that the Attorney General’s Office has issued an opinion stating that the resolution is unconstitutional because the proposed warnings are not required by federal law. Compliance with the resolution is required by December 26, 2010; non-compliant businesses face a fine, without prejudice to any further civil or criminal liability.

Source: INTA Bulletin, September 15, 2010, Vol. 65, No. 16

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