New Stat Board Singapore Food Agency To Be Formed In April 2019
Singapore Food Agency will be established in April 2019. The new stat board will consolidate all the food related functions from Health Sciences Authority (HSA), National Environment Agency (NEA) and Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA). AVA which is currently responsible for regulating food products in Singapore will cease operation. It is expected that new statutory board would better support the local food sector and help boost its efficiency.
Proposed amendment to the Food Regulation
Singapore AVA issued a draft amendment of the Food Regulation for public comments on the 6 September 2018. Some of the proposed amendment include
· Addition of 1,3-propnanediol as permitted carrier solvent for flavoring agent for use under GMP
· Inclusion of four new salts of the permitted amino acid Isoleucine, Leucine and Lysine.
· Addition of 7 new enzymes such as Beta amylase in the permitted list of enzymes, for use under GMP
· Addition of 10 new food additives into the list of permitted emulsifiers/stabilisers and general purpose food additives. such as sodium fumarate, tamarind seed gum
· Addition of Paprika extract into list of permitted colouring matter.
· Addition of Monk Fruit extract as permitted sweetening agent
· Extension of the scope of use for the currently approved food additive, for example steviol glycosides will be allowed for use in 19 new food categories
· Removal of copper as incidental constituent in food, except for use in edible fats and oils
· Inclusion of maximum limit of inorganic arsenic in husked rice.
· Extension of permitted health claims to permit oat beta glucan claims on blood cholesterol lowering effect.
The purpose of the proposed amendments is likely to update the regulatory requirements to align with the requirements set bythe Codex Alimentarius Commission and major developed countries such as Japan, the European Union, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
The details on the amendment can be found in the weblink below. Members of the public who wish to provide feedback on the proposed amendment may submit their comments to AVA via email latest by 5 November 2018.
Thailand ban the production, import and sales of partially hydrogenated oil.
The Ministry of Public Health, Thailand published a Notification on 13 July 2018. to ban the production, import and sale of partially hydrogenated oils, as well as any food that contains them. The industry will have a grace period of 180 days from the day of the publication of this Notification to comply with the requirements.
Following World Health Organization’srecommendation forthe governments around the world to eliminate the use of trans fats, the food authorities and industries in Asia have been making efforts to remove transfats from food. Beside Thailand, Taiwan has also announced the ban the use of partially hydrogenated oil in the year 2016. Other Asian countries that did not or have not implement ban on the use of partially hydrogenated oil took the approaches such as mandatory trans fatty acid labelling (for example Singapore implement mandatory transfats labelling for fats and oils products) and public education.
Thailand published updated list of plants permitted for Dietary Supplements
Botanical ingredients used in dietary supplements must be approved by Thai FDA. To assist the companies to determine if the botanical ingredients are permitted, Thai FDA has publishedthe list of approved botanical ingredients in Dietary Supplements. The first list which contains 176 ingredients was published in 2017. The second list which contains additional 34 ingredients was published recently in August 2018. Companies must comply with the conditions of use, such as maximum permitted level and mandatory warning statements.
It was noted that Thai FDA has issued 2 lists of approved ingredients within a short period of 1 year. This may also be the result of the implementation of Novel Food regulation, which specifies the safety assessment criteria and process for the application of new food and dietary supplement ingredients.In the past, companies have to consult Thai FDA on one-to-one basis to determine the requirements verify the safety of the new food and dietary supplement ingredients. The approaches Thai FDA has taken recently will help the industry as they provide clarity on the regulatory requirements.