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Food Identity and Quality Standards: An Analysis of itsTransformations in Brazil

Marília Luz David, Julia Silvia Guivant

This article analyses transformations of quality standards in Brazil namely, the Food Identity and Quality standards. Since the 2000s, Brazilian legislation has followed changes in the global food market in which sanitary and labelling issues are given priority in food quality definitions. Unlike other studies that analyze problems in standard compliance, this article problematizes the very definition of these standards. Our sources are reports and technical regulations of the National Agency of Sanitary Surveillance and the National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology; newspaper articles and food industry’s periodicals; consumers associations’ publications and market reports. These changes in quality standards mainly favored the opening of new market niches for industrially processed food, as well as the market for ingredients and chemical additives to serve this sector. They also meant the loss in nutritional quality in products and they have resulted in criticism from consumer groups and health care professionals who are attentive to products that emerge from such changes. We conclude that the analysis of these transformations in quality definitions allow us to understand not only how new products and health claims have gained institutional legitimacy and what interests such standards serve but also how the loss of nutritional quality in food is a serious issue allowed by the legislation itself.

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