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In brief

The Ministry of Health issued Resolution No. 137 of 2 December 2021 (“Resolution”)1 that establishes the guidelines for the labeling of foods for human consumption that contain (i) sugar, (ii) saturated fats and (iii) trans fats (“Nutrients”). The Resolution entered into force on 7 December 2021.

The Resolution regulates the labeling of foods through the use of front labeling on the containers and is applicable to manufactured or packaged foods that are marketed in the country.

The industries in charge of producing food with the Nutrients have 36 months from 7 December 2021 to comply with the provisions. Industries that manufacture foods packed in returnable containers have a term of five years. Foods containing the Nutrients that have been manufactured, distributed and marketed before the issuance of the Resolution and during the first 36 months after its publication can be marketed until their expiration, using the labeling they possess at the time of distribution and marketing.


The most relevant aspects of the Resolution are the following:

  1. Manufactured or packaged foods to be offered to the final consumer that use any of the Nutrients, and that have in their final composition the amount established in the table below, must comply with the provisions of the Resolution. 
NutrientsIf 100 g of solid food containsIf 100 mL of liquid food contains
Added sugarsEqual to or higher than 11 gEqual to or higher than 5.5 g
Saturated fatsEqual to or higher than 5 gEqual to or higher than 3 g
Trans fatsHigher than 0 gHigher than 0 g
  1. Manufactured or packaged foods that contain the Nutrients in an amount equal to or higher than that indicated in the table described in point 1 must comply with the following labeling requirements:     

2.1         Place a black octagon with a white border on the front of the container label.

2.2         The text inside the octagon must say “HIGH IN” followed by “SUGAR,” “SATURATED FATS” or “TRANS FATS,” as the case may be.

2.3         The bottom of the octagon should read “MINISTRY OF PEOPLE’S POWER FOR HEALTH.”

2.4        The octagonal symbol must (i) be clearly, indelibly and easily readable under normal circumstances of purchase and use, and in no case may it be fully or partially covered; (ii) the text inside the octagonal symbol must be written in Arial bold typeface, in capital letters and in white; and (iii) all the iconography of the octagonal symbol must be color black (CMYK code: C 0%, M 0%, Y 0%, K 100%).

Example (in Spanish only): 

2.5       The Resolution establishes the dimensions and proportions of the symbol, as well as its placement in case products have more than one label. Foods that have more than one label must follow the following order: (i) sugar; (ii) saturated fat; (iii) trans fat; and (iv) sodium.

  1.  The use of stickers or labels will be allowed only in the case of packaged imports for the final consumer. It is not necessary to use stickers on imported products that already contain a label with warnings in Spanish about the high content of Nutrients.
  2. Industries that manufacture foods high in sodium in accordance with the provisions of Resolution No. 011,2 and that have already implemented the labeling process, have 36 months to adapt the labeling of their products according to the provisions of the Resolution.
  3. In the event of noncompliance with the Resolution, the Autonomous Service of the Sanitary Comptroller may apply precautionary measures and/or administrative sanctions according to the offense.

Click here to read this alert in Spanish. 


[1]Resolution No. 137 of 2 December 2021 issued by the Ministry of Health (published in the Official Gazette No. 42,271 of 7 December 2021).

[2]Resolution No. 011 (published in the Official Gazette No. 41,804 of 21 January 2020).

Author

Jesús Dávila joined Baker McKenzie in 2002 and became partner in 2009. He is recognized as a leading lawyer in Venezuela by Chambers Latin America and IFLR1000. Jesus advises domestic and multinational companies on the full scope of corporate transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, takeovers, joint ventures and a variety of other corporate work. He has a strong track record providing insightful advice to companies on matters of antitrust, foreign investment and technology transfer, IT/Communications, and trade and commerce. Jesus has been a professor in various renowned universities in Venezuela.

Author

Marie Roschelle Carolina Quintero Sabino is an associate in Baker McKenzie Caracas office.

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