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Draft law No. 624/X "sets standards with a view to reducing the salt content of bread as well as information on labelling of packaged foods intended for human consumption" explanatory memorandum Portugal currently has one of the highest rates of mortality from cerebrovascular accident (STROKE) in Europe, which is about twice the observed in Spain and about three times in France.
Moreover, there is evidence that excessive salt intake can cause direct injuries on the cardiovascular system and other organs, and therefore also to the increased risk of cardiovascular accidents and overall mortality.
Excess salt intake in food is proven is associated with increased risk of development and aggravation of hypertension, which is identified by the scientific community as the principal modifiable cardiovascular risk factor, which is considered a public health problem.
Excessive consumption of salt is probably one of the factors that have the greatest responsibility in the increased incidence of these diseases, being a source of concern in the medical and scientific community. The Portuguese have the your palate to a high salt content in food, contributing to the maximum daily dose recommended by the World Health Organization (5.8 grams of salt/day), is largely outdated.
In our country the hypertension is a serious public health problem, not only by statistical data compared in terms of incidence and prevalence, and the high percentage of patients medicated, but not controlled, and the pathological consequences in target organs, being of great cardio-vascular events, by the reduction of life expectancy of patients, as well as by the high financial costs and losses in health for the country.
A recent study developed by the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University Fernando Pessoa, in assessing the level of daily intake of salt, and your relationship with the levels of blood pressure and arterial stiffness, a significant sample of adults, concluded that saline daily intake in our country will walk by double what is recommended by the World Health Organization.
Other recent studies about the salt and your consumption show that, being this one of the most widely used ingredients in the food industry to reduce salt intake is a healthy measure for the majority of the population affected which, without jeopardising the food security, contributes in a way relevant to the significant reduction of cardiovascular accidents, Strokes and the morbidity and mortality associated to them.
A study conducted in England by the Food Standards Agency, showed that in that country, where the salt intake is less than our, dropping 1 gram of salt in the daily consumption of British citizens, could save 7000 lives per year. Extrapolating to Portugal, even considering the level of salt intake far superior, and therefore, theoretically, with a greater gain, reducing the daily intake of salt in the Portuguese population could allow save 2560 lives per year. (estimates of the Portuguese society of hypertension)
The work of awareness-raising and health education healthier habits inductor, the salt content in foods, has been done in schools, health establishments, the media, the food industry, in the general population, whose results will decisively influence is intended in the feeding behavior of individual citizens, especially when domestic or commercial food preparation , or when the dining option in restore environment.
The bread and packaged foods, unlike the cooked food and consumed on time, are manufactured in industrial production, which seems appropriate to intervene legislatively, doing focus some regulation about their saline contents.
The latest data show that the bread is one of the main sources of salt intake. The national bread has, on average, more salt that the bread from other European countries, and presents a great variability in salt content, depending on the type of bread and the region where it is manufactured. The Portuguese bread, higher consumption, the so-called "normal" bread, has between 18-21 grams of salt per kilogram, while the "whole wheat bread" is manufactured with an average of 15 grams. In comparative terms with other countries in the EU, for example with the United Kingdom, there is a huge differential. This country consumes one bread salt content varies between 11 and 13 grams of salt per kilogram. Makes so sense the introduction of a regulation, to promote some harmonization in the saline content of the national bread, we approach the values already practiced by other countries and that contributes to a gradual reduction of salt intake by citizens, in accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization.
Being the bread a food known to be essential, reducing your salt content allowing recognizes it as a healthy food. Given that we're dealing with a culture of salt intake well consolidated, it is important to raise awareness of the baking industry and consumers for a gradual reduction in the salt content of bread, while fixing a maximum content of salt in this food, about 25% less than the "normal" pattern of salt used by the industry, which by one side are expected to be well accepted by consumers given the human gustatory imperceptibilidade for variations of this nature, and on the other hand, have very significant consequences in terms of public health gains. A review of the maximum levels laid down in this Act, shall be made in the next 6 years, this consolidation is likely new gustatory bread consumption pattern in our country, and will be created conditions for a further reduction of your salt content.
The identification of prepackaged foods with high salt content, through a labelling immediate comprehension by the population, was implemented with success in some European countries in the context of a policy of restriction of salt intake. Not being able to introduce severe limitations to the incorporation of some prepackaged foods, as these use salt as your main preservative, seems nevertheless very important to educate the food industry for the progressive reduction of salt content in these foods, as well as for the use of a strict labelling, identification of clear, simple, salt content of foods, allowing an easy choice and conscious consumer.
In these terms The undersigned Deputies present this draft Law, under subparagraph (b)), of article 156 of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic and articles 131, 132 n º 1, 137 and 138 of the rules of procedure of the Assembly of the Republic, and in the following terms: article 1 (subject matter) 1 – this law sets limits on the salt content in bread as well as guidelines for the labelling of prepackaged foods intended for human consumption. 2 – Are covered by this Law all kinds of bread, including the so-called "bread without salt" and the "whole wheat bread".
Article 2 (definitions) for the purposes of this Law: (a) ")" bread ": food prepared with flour, usually of wheat or other cereals, salted water, forming a mass with an elastic consistency that allows you several ways. b) "Salt": Ionic compound whose best known is the element sodium chloride, commonly known as common salt "or" kitchen salt "because it is widely used in food. c) "labelling": set of indications and indications, including image and trademark or trade, relating to the food products that are listed on the label, label, packing strap, Choker, sign, document accompanying or referring to the respective product. d) "pre-packaged Foods intended for human consumption": the set of product and packaging in it put before the exposure your sale to the final consumer, packaging being marketed jointly with the product and involving-completely so that your content may not be modified or tampered with.
Article 3 (maximum content of salt in bread) the maximum allowed for the salt content in bread, after made, is of 1.4 grams per 100 grams of bread (i.e. 14 grams of salt per Kilo of bread or the corresponding 0.55 g sodium per 100 grams of bread).
Article 4 (labelling) Without prejudice to the information that the labelling of prepackaged foods intended for human consumption must contain in legal terms, the following guidelines must be observed: a) Provide objective information that is simple, that includes data about the relative and absolute quantity of salt. b) Include graphic characters clearly visible, easy to read, which clearly identify the qualitative and quantitative point of view, the saline content of prepackaged foods.
Article 5 (administrative offences) 1 – Is a misdemeanour, the infringement of article 3, punishable by a fine in the amount of at least € 500 and a maximum of € 3500, in the case of natural persons, and in the minimum amount of € 750 and a maximum of € 5000, the case of a legal person.
Article 6 (competent Authority)
1-Without prejudice to the competence attributed by law to other entities and supervisory officers, especially the Food and economic Safety Authority, ensure the compliance with the rules laid down in this law. 2-in the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira are the authorities and bodies competent in their respective regional governments the power to ensure the supervision of compliance with the rules contained in this Decree.
Article 7 (Transitional Standard) marketing is authorised until stocks are exhausted, the products do not comply with the standards laid down in this law, provided that they have been manufactured prior to your entry into force.
Article 8 (entry into force) the present law shall enter into force within 90 days from the date of your publication.
S. Bento, 18 December 2008 Meps
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