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Dateline Southeast Asia

Soda tax could cost 120,000 Indonesian jobs

Sweetened drinks shouldn’t even be subject to excise duty, never mind an elevated sugar tax, according to the Indonesian drinks industry.

News in brief

Pejnovic named CMA president

The chief executive of Lipa Pharmaceuticals has been named president of the Australian complementary industry’s representative body. 

News in brief

Zero-alcohol beer could soon be moved from Kiwi soft drinks aisles

New Zealand’s grocers have welcomed a bill that will allow zero-alcohol and very low alcohol beers to be sold alongside full-strength beers in supermarkets.

Australia’s cattle methane emissions figure downsized by 24%

New data analysis has found that cattle methane emissions in Australia are 24% lower than had been previously estimated—equivalent to 12.6m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

Sustainable palm-oil body slammed over slave labour auditing

A coalition of international labour rights and environmental groups has questioned whether audits carried out by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) were robust enough to root out members...

HK scientists devise saliva diabetes test

Researchers at Hong Kong Polytechnic University have developed a transistor-based biosensor which they say can take the pain out of diabetics’ regular blood tests by measuring glucose levels in saliva. ...

Far East digest

Japanese coalition compromises on planned food tax hike

Japan's ruling coalition partners have agreed to a to exempt food products from a planned tax hike in 2017, when general consumption tax will be increased by two percentage points.

Australia-China collaboration to focus on grains, health and wine

Australia and China are set to foster closer ties in agricultural research and wine production with the launch of a new collaborative research centre at the University of Adelaide's Waite campus in...

News in brief

Palau ratifies international illegal fishing agreement

The island nation of Palau has become the first Pacific island state to ratify an international agreement to combat illegal fishing, which the FAO estimates will deprive the global economy...

News in brief

Raw apricot kernels banned due to cyanide poisoning risk

Regulators have banned retail sales of raw apricot kernels after changes to its food standards code have come into effect.

Kiwi university finds lightning fast way to test for leeching DEHP

Massey University engineers have developed a highly sensitive device that is able to detect synthetic compounds that leach from plastic packaging into food. 

This week Down Under

FTAs are good for business, but technical barriers must now be smashed

Australia’s government must address technical barriers to trade, which are inhibiting the potential of Australian exports, according to a report released by the country’s food industry.

South Asia radius

‘Sin tax’ of 40% proposed to cover Indian soft drinks

A panel that is looking into the implementation of a new system of GST in India has proposed levying a 40% “sin tax” on aerated drinks, even though consumption is...

News in brief

20% of Indian food samples either adulterated or misbranded in 2015

Roughly one-fifth of all food samples tested by public laboratories were found to be “adulterated and misbranded”, according to data released by India’s food regulator.

India’s ‘inconsistent’ regulator deals blow to food manufacturers

India’s food processing industry is facing an “inconsistent and restrictive regulatory environment”, according to the minister that represents it, prompting the government to implement measures to ease product approval regulations....

News in brief

HK online food retailers to get new safety guidelines

Hong Kong’s food authorities have reacted to various food scandals this year by issuing new guidelines for online sales.

News in brief

Taiwan outlaws trans fats over three years

Taiwan’s lawmakers have banned artificial trans fats in processed foods, with violators facing fines of up to NT$3m (US$92,000).

EU could soon ease Fukushima produce restrictions

Japanese media have reported that the European Union may no longer require radiation screening for some food products imported into the bloc from the beginning of next year.

Far East digest

Taiwan court’s decision to clear ‘tainted oil’ chief provokes backlash

A not guilty decision by a district court in the trial of the heads of a food giant embroiled in a tainted oil scandal has prompted a boycott of Ting...

Indonesia mulls sugar tax while Filipino farmers make voices heard

With the Philippines preparing legislation to introduce a sugar tax on soft drinks, neighbouring Indonesia could now follow suit after officials began a study into the policy.

FAO honours Thailand for its part in wiping out cassava mealybug pest

Thailand’s agriculture ministry has won the Edouard Saouma award for spearheading regional collaboration to combat a destructive crop pest with the help of a tiny wasp. 

Dateline Southeast Asia

Monsanto urges Philippines to embrace GM and biotech

Monsanto has warned Congress that the Philippines could face a food crisis if it does not put biotechnology at the heart of its food security programme.

Sugar-free drinks just as harmful to tooth enamel, study finds

Melbourne researchers believe that sugar-free drinks and sweets may still provoke tooth decay after a number of samples they tested were found to contain additives and pH levels that would...

News in brief

India readies to combat malnutrition through fortification programme

The Indian government is preparing legislation to combat high levels of child malnutrition. 

Prepare for slavery act or risk ‘disaster’

Food and drink businesses with a turnover of more than £36M a year should prepare now to comply with the new Modern Slavery Act or risk “disaster”, warns law firm Roythornes, after...

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