Reliable labeling: Regulatory aspects for commercializing creatine-based supplements in Brazil

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Food Markets: Consumer Perceptions, Government Regulations and Health Impacts
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Roberto Furquim N.
Cavallini Cyrillo D.
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© 2016 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.Very popular in Brazil during the 1990s, creatine-based supplements consumption presented controversial features. It was intensively consumed, mostly in an indistinct way, and without adequate usage instructions. It was commercialized during many years as a supplement, without specific regulation. In 2005, the National Sanitary Regulation Agency (ANVISA) prohibited creatine-based supplements commercialization due to a lack of enough studies about the impact of that substance on consumers’ health. During the first half of the years 2000, an academic study carried out at the University of Säo Paulo analyzed the labeling of creatine-based supplements available on the Brazilian market during the years before the prohibition of their commercialization. The labels of the supplements, from different brands were analyzed using a model for tracking the labeling rules established by ANVISA for special food for athletes. That procedure allowed an evaluation of the compliance level to those rules by the companies that commercialized creatine-based supplements. Further to that study, it was observed that important information concerning consumption and restrictions were not clearly mentioned on the labels, which could induce to inappropriate consumption. The study also suggested that there was a need to improve and to be more accurate concerning the labelling and commercialization rules for creatine-based supplements, making it mandatory that their labels should contain all consumption and restriction instructions, in a clear, visible and objective way. Between 2005 and 2010, many creatine-based supplements were unofficially traded in the marketplace in Brazil. In 2010, ANVISA reconsidered the commercialization of creatine-based supplements exclusively for high performance athletes, with nutritionists or physicians guidance. It became mandatory to be mentioned on the labels of those products that creatine daily consumption over 3.0 grams may be harmful to consumers health. For approval of the commercialization of that product, ANVISA evaluated scientific studies presented by producers during a public consultation, which was opened in November 2008, and by a working group established by that agency for reviewing previous regulatory issues. Studies from the Brazilian Society for Sports Medicine, from the Scientific Committee on Food/European Commission, besides other clinic essays about the efficacy of creatine for athletes were also considered as references. Increasing society demand for reliable information concerning food and food supplements requires efforts from the government and from the productive sectors for implementation of an effective nutritional labeling. Reliable food and food supplement nutritional labeling is important for promoting healthy consumption and is related to strategies of disease risk reduction. It must be perceived and understood by the producers as not only a regulatory issue. It allows the consumers to know and accordingly select food and food supplements, which will be part of their meals. This study aims at discussing the importance of the normalization of food supplements labeling, particularly the creatine-based ones, and reviewing how the labeling of the supplements commercialized in Brazil are related to the respective legislation. Unfortunately, it was concluded that nowadays there are still problems with the labelling of creatine-based supplements in Brazil.
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