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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...

Food processing minister calls for FDI in produce retail

India’s food processing minister has called on the government to open up the perishables segment to foreign retailers, claiming the move would benefit local fruit and vegetable producers.

Analysis reveals big costs savings for DHA supplements during pregnancy

Supplementing pregnant mothers with DHA omega-3 could lead to significant costs savings for patients and healthcare systems, according to a new analysis from Australia.

UK government:‘There is no one definition of sustainable palm oil’

Legally defining sustainability: Edible palm oil must follow in biofuel footsteps

Voluntary measures and government targets are great – but it is legislation that will push European palm oil users to true sustainability. The food sector could learn a lesson or...


Trans-Strait fears quashed, though talks stall over agriculture

Speeding up the customs clearance process for trade between Taiwan and China would not compromise the island’s stringent food safety requirements, though it would succeed in making Taiwanese exports more...

Indonesia in brief

Fertiliser firms must work with food companies to boost production

Indonesia’s president has urged the fertiliser industry to support food companies in working to achieve food security and broaden exports.

Singapore looks to curb widespread food wastage after 50% increase

As Singapore’s National Environment Agency launches a campaign to curb food wastage, it was revealed that residents each dumped roughly 150kg of food last year.

Dateline Southeast Asia

Filipino lawmakers voice support for soda tax bill

Support for a Philippines tax on sugary soft drinks to boost government coffers and rein in an increase in lifestyle is growing as legislation passes through parliament.

South Asia Radius

Food Security Act to be in place by March 2016 despite delays

All but one of India’s states and territories will be subject to the new National Food Security Act by March next year.

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