Food Labeling

Sep 22, 2022 | English Blog

Posted by: Claraliz Oviedo | Associate at Alvarado y Asociados.

Food labeling is a key tool to protect the health of consumers in terms of food safety and nutrition. The label provides information on the identity and content of products, while improving competitiveness and promoting more sustainable, healthy and inclusive food systems.

In Nicaragua, food labels must comply with the provisions of the Technical Regulation on General Labeling of Prepackaged Foods; as well as with the Technical Regulation on Nutritional Labeling of Prepackaged Foods.

Our legislation recognizes two types of label, one original that must contain any tag, sign, brand, image, or other descriptive or graphic material, which has been written, printed, stenciled, marked in relief or intaglio or adhered to the container of a food; and a Complementary Label that is used to make mandatory information available to the consumer when it is in a language other than
Spanish on the original label or to add those mandatory elements not included in the original label and required by our regulations.

On labeling there are fundamental principles, prepackaged foods should not be described or presented with a label or labeling in a way that is false, misleading or misleading, or capable of creating in any way an erroneous impression regarding its nature in any aspect.; and pre-packaged foods must also not be described or presented with a label or labeling that uses words, illustrations or other graphic representations that directly or indirectly refer to or suggest any other product with which the product in question may be confused, nor in such a way as to lead the purchaser or consumer to assume that the food is in any way related to that other product, for example if a sausage is made from soybeans, with a minimum content of pork, and the phrase “pork sausage” appears on its label, the consumer would be given an erroneous impression of the nature of the product, which is why it would be considered a violation of this first principle.

Some data that you must identify in a product before its consumption are:

• Name of the food, which indicates the true nature of the food, be specific and not generic.
• List of ingredients, except in the case of single-ingredient foods, a list of ingredients must appear on the label.
• If you are allergic to certain ingredients, you should be aware of legends that represent warnings about their consumption. In fact, our regulations indicate that the following foods and ingredients have been proven to cause hypersensitivity and must always be declared as such: cereals containing gluten; for example, wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt or their hybrid strains, and products
thereof; crustaceans and their products; eggs and egg products; fish and fishery products; peanuts, soybeans and their products; milk and milk products (including lactose); tree nuts and their derived products; sulphite. Therefore, if any of the ingredients or additives of the previous point or the substances they contain, such as gluten or lactose, could be present in the final product, even unintentionally, the possibility of their presence must be clearly indicated. This statement should be placed after the list of ingredients in a separate sentence and prominently (underlined, bold, or otherwise highlighted). Such as “Contains traces of gluten”, “Made on equipment that processes peanuts”, “Could contain lactose”, or any other phrase that reports
such a condition.
• Net content and drained weight.
• Sanitary Registration of the Product The registration number issued by the Ministry of Health must be indicated. The statement must begin with a phrase or abbreviation that clearly indicates this information to the consumer and the phrase “Sanitary Registry” and abbreviations such as Reg. San., RS, among others, may be used.
• Name and address of the manufacturer, packer, distributor or exporter for domestic products, as the case may be. For imported products, the name and address of the importer or distributor of food and country of origin must be indicated.
• Lot identification
• Marking of the expiration date and instructions for conservation. In fact, the marking of the expiration date must be placed, directly by the manufacturer, indelibly, not be altered and be clearly visible and in the event that an imported product does not indicate the expiration date under the aforementioned conditions, the information must be placed by the importer or packer,
according to the technical information of the manufacturer or supplier. Such information must be available by the importer and provided if requested by the competent authority.
• Instructions for its use.

Whether you are a manufacturer of food products or if you are a consumer, remember these regulations on your next visit to distribution centers. You can also read the complementary information that manufacturers may include, as they are intended to make it easier for the consumer to understand the information related to the nutritional value of the food and help them interpret the declaration on the nutrient.

If you want legal advice on obtaining sanitary registrations and licenses, do not hesitate to contact us.