Brazil Salt Action Summary

2015

An article evaluating salt reduction activities in Brazil states that in 2012, cardiovascular disease was responsible for 30% of all deaths and in 2013, 21% of Brazilian adults had hypertension. Between 2002-2003 and 2008-2009 sodium intake did not vary, with an average of 4700mg, or 12g salt, per day. The majority of this sodium came from table salt added during cooking or at the table, and salt-based condiments.

Brazilian public schools provide 42.2 million students with controlled salt, sugar and fat foods. Private schools have ‘healthy’ cafeterias and several states have approved regulation of unhealthy foods. Public education campaigns by the Ministry of Health promote healthy eating habits and emphasise salt reduction, and other bodies such as supermarkets now communicate with consumers with regards to salt.

In Brazil instant noodles, bread and buns, mayonnaise, corn sacks, potato chips, cakes and cake mixes, cookies and biscuits, margarine, breakfast cereals, condiments, French bread (artisanal), soups, dairy and meat products are responsible for over 90% of sodium from processed foods.

Sodium reduction targets, which are voluntary and reset biannually, were set on these products. The targets for each product were set as an upper limit in terms of sodium per 100 g of product, with intermediate biannual targets and a final reduction target for 2020. According to unpublished first monitoring data, by the end of 2013, manufacturers have cut 1,295 tons of sodium from the production of instant noodles, bread and buns. The targets should lead to a reduction of 28.5 thousand tons of sodium. 94.9% of instant pasta brands, 97.7% of breads brands and 10% of bun brands have achieved the first sodium targets.

To view the full article, please click here.

February 2012

The Ministry of Health in Brazil have signed two new commitment terms with targets and timelines for sodium reduction in new food categories and also the framework for monitoring our sodium reduction plan. 

French bread, which represents the food category that individually contributes the most to sodium intake in Brazil, because of its large consumption, will have its sodium content reduced 2.5% a year until 2014. 

Because French bread is mostly produced in small bakeries, other important agreed commitments were the national standardization of sodium content and elaborating and publishing a Good Nutritional Practices for French bread in order to help producers to achieve the salt reductions that have been agreed.

Targets for reducing the sodium content of the following food categories have also been set:
• Potato chips (↓~5%/year until 2016)
• Corn extruded snacks (↓~8.5%/ year until 2016)
• Ready cakes (↓~7.5 to 8%/ year until 2014)
• Cake mixes (↓~8 to 8.5%/ year until 2016)
• Mayonnaise (9.5% / year until 2014)
• Salted biscuits (13%/ year until 2014)
• Sweet biscuits (7.5%/ year until 2014)
• Sandwich cookies (17.5% to 19.5%/ year until 2014).

2011

In celebration of World Health Day, the federal government of Brazil, in a bid to strengthen activities to promote healthy lifestyles, announced its commitment to reduce salt in 16 food categories. 

The Health Minister, Alexandre Padilha signed an agreement with the food industry for a gradual reduction in sodium over 16 categories of food.  

The agreement is between the Ministry of Health and the Brazilian Association of Food Industries, Brazilian Association of manufacturers of pasta, Brazilian association of wheat and the Brazilian Association of bakers and confectionary.

The agreement is to:

  • A gradual reduction of sodium in 16 food categories  - starting with instant pasta and bread.
  • Setting maximum levels of sodium per 100g –
    • For pasta = 1.9g sodium/100g by 2012.  - 30% reduction
    • Sliced Bread = 645mg sodium/100g by 2012 and 522mg sodium/100g by 2014. – 10% reduction
    • Baked bread/bread rolls = 531mg sodium/100g by 2012 and 430mg by 2014 – 10% reduction

They also plan to set targets for French bread, cake ready mixes, corn chips and crisps, biscuits, meat (sausage, ham burgers and breaded meat products), broths, spices, vegetable margarine, mayonnaise, cereal products, dairy products (milk beverages, cheese and curds) and ready meal.

 A slideshow presentation evaluating salt reduction work in Brazil is available here.