Adherence to voluntary sodium reduction agreements in Brazil

Camila Zancheta Ricardo Giovanna Calixto Andrade Bianka Caliman Salvador Laís Amaral Mais Ana Clara Duran Ana Paula Bortoletto Martins About the authors

Abstract

The objective was to assess adherence to voluntary agreements for sodium reduction firmed between the food industries and the Ministry of Health in Brazil and to compare their targets with the limit proposed in the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) nutritional profile model. We used data from 1.553 foods from 32 categories included in the agreements and sold in the largest Brazilian supermarket chains in 2017. The frequency of products with sodium equal or below the cut-offs proposed by the voluntary agreements and by PAHO was calculated. Classification concordance according to the two was evaluated with Cohen’s kappa coefficient (k). Our results showed that 77.7% of products were adequate according to the voluntary agreements, and only 35.9% of them, according to the PAHO model. We identified a weak degree of concordance between both criteria in classifying a product as adequate about sodium content (k = 0.199). In conclusion, the voluntary agreements for sodium reduction are limited in their scope and rigor. The adoption of measures oriented for all products, with more restrictive and mandatory targets, should be considered in the country.

Key words:
Sodium chloride; Dietary; Food labeling; Nutrition programs and policies

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