SINGAPORE

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.

https://www.ava.gov.sg/docs/default-source/legislation/sale-of-food-act/consultation-on-draft-food-(amendment)-regulations-2019.pdf

THAILAND

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.

http://food.fda.moph.go.th/law/data/announ_moph/V.English/No.388_trans_fat.pdf

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.

http://food.fda.moph.go.th/law/data/announ_fda/600810_name.pdf

http://food.fda.moph.go.th/law/data/announ_fda/PlantName_2.pdf

 

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.

Malaysia

Proposed amendment to Food Regulations

The Food Safety and Quality Division (FSQD) of the Malaysia Ministry of Health has published draft amendment of the Food Regulations for public comments. The proposed amendment include

·         Pre-marketing approval requirement for selected food

According to the draft amendment, Honey and Kelulut honey, Stevia extract and enzymatically modified stevia, Supplemented food and Premix coffee would require pre-marketing approval. The application for approval are to be submitted to the Director and may be valid for 3 years. However, FSQD has not provide information on the registration requirements.

·         Standards for Supplemented Food and Kelulut honey or stingless bee honey.

The proposed amendment provides the definition, hygiene standards, labelling and composition standards. The 2 new standards, when approved will be included in Part VIIIStandards And Particular Labelling Requirements For Food of the Food Regulations.

·         Inclusion of new Schedule on prohibited ingredient for food

The prohibited ingredients listed include Stichopus spp. (gamat) Gypsum Fibrosum, Placenta, Pearl, Bile, Glucosamine, Hyaluronic Acid, Glutathione and Gamma-amino Butyric Acid (GABA)

·         Amendment to Sixteenth Schedule Pesticide Residue

The Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) for some pesticides were revised, for example, the MRL for 2,4 D in sugarcane has been reduced from 3 mg/kg to 0.05 mg/kg.  There are also addition of new pesticides and food categories to the list, for example Methoxyfenozide, which has MRL of 0.5 mg/kg for Chili.

The details of the proposed amendment can be found in the link below. Member of the public who wish to provide feedback should submit their comments latest by 30th September 2018.

http://fsq.moh.gov.my/v6/xs/page.php?id=37 

Taiwan

Taiwan Allergen Labelling.

Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued updated regulation on allergen labelling, which willcome into force on 1 July 2020.In addition to the 6 allergens listed in the regulations issued in 2014, the updated regulations include Sesame and products, and Codex list of major allergens that are known to be common cause of allergic reaction, for example sulphite in concentration of 10 mg/kg or more,  cereals containing gluten and products. This updated regulations will have a total of 11 allergens that required mandatory allergen labelling.

The regulations also specify the format for allergen labelling, for example

·         “This product contains ______,”

·         “This product contains ______, unsuitable for susceptible individuals”, or

other synonymous terms.

https://www.fda.gov.tw/tc/includes/GetFile.ashx?id=f636705275285813757

In addition to the list of allergens that are subjected to mandatory allergen labelling, Taiwan FDA also published a list of substances recommended for allergen labelling

·         The cephalopods and their products such as squid and octopus

·         shellfish and its products: including snails, oysters, scallops and mussels

·         Seeds and their products: containing sunflower seeds, melon seeds, etc.

·         Kiwifruit and its products

Taiwan FDA will likely continue to monitor the use of these ingredients by the Taiwanese population, if necessary, Taiwan FDA will consider moving these ingredients to the list for mandatory allergen labelling.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong issued Food Adulteration (Metallic Contamination)(Amendment) Regulations 2018

HongKong government issued updated standard for metallic contamination in the Food Adulteration (Metallic Contamination) (Amendment) Regulations 2018. The regulations will come into force on 1 November 2019. The main purpose for the amendment is to update the regulations to align with Codex Principles and other relevant international standards. Some of the updates/changes are as follows

·         Inclusion of additional metallic contaminants: barium, boron, copper, manganese, nickel, selenium and uranium. This will increase the total number of metallic contaminants from the existing 7 to 15.

·         The number of maximum levels (MLs) for metallic contaminants in respect of different foods and food groups will be increased from the existing 19 to 144 . Of these 144 MLs, 84 make reference to Codex standards

·         The Amendment Regulation also provides definitions for individual foods and food groups

https://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/whatsnew/whatsnew_fstr/whatsnew_fstr_PA_Food_Adulteration_Metallic_Contamination.html

Vietnam

Viet Nam issued Draft Circular on Management and Use of Food Additive.

The Viet Nam Food Administration (VFA) submitted Notification to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which they target to implement this circular by 15 December 2018. This circular is to replace the current Food Additives regulations Circular No 27/2012/TT-BYT. As Viet Nam food additives requirements follows the standards in Codex General Standards for Food Additives, it is likely that the new circular is to provide updated requirements based on the latest Codex Standards.

http://tbt.gov.vn/To%20Link%20lin%20kt/file%20dự%20thảo.pdf

ASEAN

In 1997, the ASEAN leaders adopted the ASEAN Vision 2020 with the goal of creating closer economic integration in the region leading to an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The AEC aims to establish ASEAN as a single market and production base and enhance ASEAN’s economic competitiveness.One of the key goal of AEC is to eliminate Non-Tariff Barrier to Trade, which include technical barriers in the form of  diverse national regulations and standards. The key body in ASEAN responsible for removing these technical barriers to trades is the ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standards and Quality (ACCSQ). The overall plan is to take a regional approach to harmonize technical regulations and standards, and develop mutual recognition arrangements for test and certification.

 

ACCSQ – Prepared Foodstuff Product Working Group ACCSQ PFPWG

The ACCSQ PFPWG was established was established to assist ACCSQ in addressing the elimination of technical barriers to trades for prepared foodstuff among Member States. The ACCSQ PFPWG consists of regulators from the food authorities in 10 ASEAN Member Status and the current Chair and Co-Chair of PFPWG are Indonesia and Thailand respectively. The PFPWG’s activities include

·         Identifying areas for harmonisation and mutual recognition

·         Develop, implement and monitor the sectoral Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs)

·         Identify the technical infrastructure needs and build-up mutual confidence in testing and conformity assessment

·         Exchange of information on standards, regulations, procedures and mandatory requirements in Member Countries related to prepared foodstuff. Review and analyze the comparative study of regulatoryregimes among Member Countries.


To date, the PFPWG has developed the following guidelines

·         ASEAN General Standards for the Labelling Prepackaged Food

·         ASEAN Maximum Level for Food Additives for Prepared Foodstuff Products

·         ASEAN Principles and Criteria for The Establishment of Maximum Level for Contaminants and Toxins in Food and Feed

·         ASEAN Food Safety Policy

·         ASEAN Principles and Guidelines for National Food Control Systems

·         ASEAN General Principles of Food Hygiene

·         ASEAN Guidelines for the Design, Operation, Assessment and Accreditation of Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems

·         ASEAN Guidelines for Food Import Control Systems

·         Guidelines for ASEAN Food Reference Laboratories

·         ASEAN Principles for Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification

 

As the PFPWG continue to meet on regular basis to discuss on the areas for harmonisation and mutual recognition, it is hoped that areas such as Nutrition Labelling could be considered for harmonisation.

 

ACCSQ – Traditional Medicines and Health Supplements Product Working Group ACCSQ TMHS PWG

The ACCSQ TMHS PWG was established in the year 2004 to look into the harmonisation of Traditional Medicines and Health supplements products. The ACCSQ TMHS PWG consist of regulators from the food and drug authorities in the 10 ASEAN Member States, as well as representatives from the Traditional Medicines and Health Supplements industry respectively. The current Chair is from Singapore and Co-chair is from Myanmar. The key tasks for TMHS PWG is to identify and development technical standards and requirements for harmonisation, as well as legally binding agreement to implement these technical standards and requirements. The following technical standards/requirements was identified, developed and agreed upon. These technical standards/requirements will be annexed in the Agreement, which is still under development. The next TMHS PWG meeting, which will be held end of October 2018 in Indonesia, aims to finalise the agreement. The target implementation date based on the current timeline will be end of 2024.

 

-        Annex I – ASEAN Guiding Principles for Inclusion into or Exclusion from the Negative List of Substances for Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);

-        Annex II – ASEAN Guiding Principles for the Use of Additives and Excipients in Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);

-        Annex III – ASEAN Guidelines on Limits of Contaminants for Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);

-        Annex IV – ASEAN Guidelines for Minimising the Risk of Transmission of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies in Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);

-        Annex V – ASEAN Guidelines on Stability and Shelf-Life of Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);

-        Annex VI – ASEAN Guiding Principles on Safety Substantiation for Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);

-        Annex VII – ASEAN Guidelines on Claims and Claims Substantiation for Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);

-        Annex VIII – ASEAN Guidelines on Good Manufacturing Practice for Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);

-        Annex IX – ASEAN Guidelines on Labeling Requirements for Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);

-        Annex X – ASEAN General Principles for Establishing Maximum Levels of Vitamins and Minerals in Health Supplements

Note: There will be 2 separate agreements for Traditional Medicines and Health Supplements.