In 2021, the Congress of the Republic of Colombia approved the labeling law or Resolution 810 of 2021. The objective of this law is to keep consumers informed about the nutritional contents of processed food.
The resolution establishes modifications to the packaging and its front label, such as the information included in the nutrition table and specific warning seals for products exceeding the recommended levels of saturated fats, added sugar and/or sodium. The warning seals must be affixed along with the front label and are mandatory for the products exceeding the following specific levels of sodium, saturated fats and added sugar:
- Sodium: 100 g (solid): ≥ 400 mg; 100 ml (liquid): ≥ 150 mg
- Added sugar: 100 g (solid): ≥ 10 g; 100 ml (liquid): ≥ 5 g
- Saturated fats: 100 g (solid): ≥ 4 g; 100 ml (liquid): ≥ 3.5 g
To find out whether a product contains added sugar, saturated fats or sodium, the consumer must read the list of ingredients of the nutrition table and identify which components could contribute such nutrients. The following are some examples of ingredients that contribute added sugar, sodium or saturated fat:
- Sodium: table salt, additives such as sodium bicarbonate or sodium nitrites, etc.
- Added sugar: table sugar, honey, panela (unrefined whole cane sugar), corn syrup, glucose syrup, glucose, fructose, sugar cane juice, molasses, other syrups, brown sugar, caramel, coconut sugar, maltodextrin, marmalades, jellies, sugary cereals, etc.
- Saturated fats: animal-origin fats, cream, bacon, butter, vegetable oils (coconut, palm, rapeseed, corn, soy, sunflower, among other), fatty acid monoglycerides and diglycerides, etc.
The presence of the warning seals does not mean that the products are harmful or that cannot be consumed. These seals are included in the packaging to inform consumers about the contents of the products so that they can make informed decisions regarding their food intake and diet, thus avoiding excess nutrients of interest. Therefore, consumers will find products with one, two or three seals:
Additionally, the nutrition tables of all products have also been modified to include the lists of the nutritional components of each specific product and their dietary contribution. With the new labeling law, the nutritional information can be found in two sections:
- Per 100 g or 100 ml: indicating the dietary contribution of the product per 100 g (if solid) or 100 ml (if liquid), but it does not indicate the dietary contribution of the food weight or volume the person should consume. This section enables consumers to compare two products of the same category or two similar products, and make an informed decision.
- Per serving: the second column indicates the dietary contribution of the product per serving. When eating the recommended serving, the person would be getting the energy and nutrient intake stated on this column.