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Regulatory Trends, Opportunities for Functional Foods in Latin America

Latin America is among the most dynamic regional markets in the world. With an increasing consumer demand for food products with an added value for health maintenance and improvement, Latin America offers plenty of opportunities for functional food and ingredient companies.

Latin America is among the most dynamic regional markets in the world. With an increasing consumer demand for food products with an added value for health maintenance and improvement, Latin America offers plenty of opportunities for functional food and ingredient companies. 

At the same time, functional foods are defined under a variety of food categories with differentiated regulatory requirements between markets. Furthermore, the conditions for the permitted use of functional ingredients differ between countries, and few of them define the specific requirements and processes that new and/or innovative ingredients have to go through. Thereby, companies must not disregard the existing diverse scenario between markets in the region, displaying some challenges next to the opportunities. 

In this sense, having a clear understanding of the diverse legislations and staying updated on new national and regional developments, including key developments in other parts of the world with potential impact in the Latin American region, is essential for companies to maximize the possibilities that are offered and to thereby successfully launch functional foods and ingredients across Latin America. 

EAS Latin America regional director David Pineda Ereño will provide an overview of the current and emerging regulatory developments related to functional foods, fortified foods, food supplements and ingredients. In particular, David will focus on highlighting trends and opportunities that arise from existing regulations and also those under development. Such focus will address developments at national level as well as regulatory harmonization processes in the food area, which are undertaken by the existing trade blocs within the Latin American region, e.g., Mercosur, the Secretariat of Central American Economic Integration (SIECA), the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) and the Pacific Alliance. 

Companies will get a clear picture of the trends and opportunities for functional foods, fortified foods food supplements and for the variety of permitted, new and/or innovative ingredients to access top Latin American markets. This will include for example the comprehension of the different degrees of development by the variety of legal frameworks, the understanding of the differentiated applicable regulations across Latin America for the same food category and the identification of requirements to bring new and/or innovative ingredients to the market. On the latter, the presentation will point out the variety of approaches taken by countries such as for example, on the one hand, Brazil and Colombia, and, on the other, Argentina, Chile or Mexico. 

In addition, Pineda Ereño will also address the opportunities for the use of nutrition and health claims, which is an area of key importance for functional foods and ingredients. It is worth highlighting that the use of claims is at the top of the regulatory agenda of Latin American regulators. Whie some countries are working on specific regulations for health claims, such as Mexico, others are revising their current rules, like Brazil. For example, the Brazilian authorities are working on a positive list of nutrient function claims associated with generally recognized functions and their conditions for use that could be a reference for the region. 

Pineda Ereño will be presenting during the “Focus on Regulation, Science and Legal Aspects" education session at 9:00 to 11:00 on March 24 at Vitafoods South America.  Other speakers in this session include:  

•        Prof. Franco Lajolo, Instructor, USP 

•        Georgia Fernandes, scientific, regulatory and nutrition affairs manager, Mondel?z Brasil 

•        José Olimpio Mattos, vice president, FQM Group Brazil 

•        Vanessa Vilar, legal manager, Unilever 

•        Tatiana Raposo Pires, director, regulatory, government and industry affairs, Herbalife 

•        Hans Verhagen, professor, Efsa  

Pineda Ereño will also present at the “Regulatory challenges" seminar at 9:00 to 11:00 on March 25, also at Vitafoods South America. Other speakers in this session include Tatiana Raposo Pires, director, regulatory, government and industry affairs, Herbalife; and Hans Verhagen, professor, Efsa. 

David Pineda Ereño has university degree in law from the University of Deusto (Bilbao, Spain) and a master’s degree in European Community Law and Comparative Law from the University of Maastricht (The Netherlands). In 2003, he joined EAS. Pineda Ereño is specialized in international food law, including work with international intergovernmental organizations and also in relation to the European and Latin American regulatory frameworks in the area of food, nutrition and health policy. Pineda Ereño is the regional director of the EAS Latin America office in Buenos Aires, and global regulatory affairs director for EAS Strategic Advice.

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