Policy review: We reveal the top 10 most-read APAC regulatory stories of 2018

By Pearly Neo contact

- Last updated on GMT

See the most-read policy and regulations stories published throughout the year. ©Pixabay/succo
See the most-read policy and regulations stories published throughout the year. ©Pixabay/succo

Related tags: Top 10, Policy, Regulatory

Here we list the most-read policy and regulations stories published throughout the year, featuring developments from Malaysia, Australia, India, New Zealand and more.

No more almond ‘milk’? Australia looks to stop ‘misleading’ plant-based product labelling

Manufacturers in Australia may soon have to re-label all plant-based products containing the terms ‘meat’ and/or ‘milk’​ in them, as politicians request Food Safety Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to review the standards surrounding these.

Australian Regional Services Minister Bridget McKenzie said that these changes were necessary “to protect the reputation, hard earned by our clean, green farmers.”

"I want consumers to have confidence that when they buy […] meat, it's beef from an animal and when they buy milk, it is actually produced by a dairy cow."

 

Foods containing GM golden rice can be sold in Australia and New Zealand

Products containing traces of golden rice, which is genetically modified to produce beta-carotene, should be able to be sold in Australia and New Zealand​, regulators have ruled.

It follows an application to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)  from the humanitarian organisation International Rice Research Institute, which cultivated the GR2E rice line to mitigate vitamin A deficiency in developing countries.

The regulator stressed the application was based on trade issues and did not permit the rice to be grown in Australia or New Zealand.

 

Traffic light labelling measure set for packaged foods in India under new FSSAI regulations

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is proposing to introduce a traffic light labelling measure​, with red spots being used to warn of high fat, sugar or salt content in packaged foods.

The draft regulation states that packaged food manufacturers and firms are required to declare nutritional information such as calories (energy), total fat, trans-fat, total sugar and salt per serve, as well as per serve percentage contribution to the recommended dietary allowance (RDA).

 

APAC sugar taxes: How 2018 is shaping up from a policy perspective

Sugar taxes​ are never far from the headlines as governments scramble to deal with rising cases of obesity and diabetes, and their related health costs.

Written at the start of 2018, we rounded up how things stood in the major markets across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East at the beginning of the year.

 

India’s FSSAI to regulate alcohol for the first time

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FFSAI) is set to regulate alcoholic beverages​ in the country to ensure it is within a safe and permissible limit.

The new legislation covers beer, wine, brandy, gin, rum, whisky and vodka, and help to ensure that only the prescribed percentage of alcohol in the drink is permitted.

FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal stated that the new regulations will be under the Food Product Safety & Standards (Alcoholic Beverages Standard) Regulations 2018.

 

Australia's Country of Origin Labelling rules come into force with spot checks for 10,000 items

Australia’s new Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) rules are now fully in force​, with regulators set to embark on 10,000 spot checks to ensure adherence.

Australian consumers will have much greater certainty about the origins of the food they buy due to the now mandatory CoOL, said both the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australia government.

All food businesses — including manufacturers, processors and importers that offer food for retail sale in in the country —need to comply with the CoOL Information Standard.

 

Thai trans fats ban Draft Notification now being finalised

The Thai Ministry of Public Health's Draft Notification on the proposed ban of partially hydrogenated oils​, including trans fat, has ended its public consultation period and is being finalised.

This prohibition of trans fats would significantly impact suppliers of partially hydrogenated oils and products containing trans fat, and push cooking oil producers, food manufacturers as well as restaurants to reformulate their products.

“The ban of partially hydrogenated oil in foods will impact the food industry from upstream […]  to downstream processes,”​ said Alan Adcock, partner and deputy director of Intellectual Property, Tilleke & Gibbins.

 

Single-use plastics ban in India facing enforcement road bumps and packaging industry​ backlash

India’s ban on single-use plastics​ is now in effect in most states and union territories across the nation, but a number of road bumps threaten to derail the movement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had previously expressed the desire to completely put an end to the use of single-use plastics in the country by 2022.

By June 23, Maharashtra — the state in which the nation’s capital is located — along with other states had begun to officially enforce the ban, after a fragmented roll-out. Out of the 29 states and seven union territories of India, 25 now have either a partial or complete ban on plastics.

 

Sri Lanka beverage firms shaken by​ sugar tax

Sri Lankan beverage firms appear to have been hit in the pocket​ by the country’s new tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs).

The Sri Lankan SSB tax, introduced by the government on November 9, has led to sales and profits slumps in beverage companies.

Sri Lankan news portals reported that the new tax has hit food and beverage firms like Nestlé Lanka and Ceylon Cold Stores.

 

Sugar tax threat looms large in Malaysia as PM​ highlights soft drinks concerns

Malaysian PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad acknowledged the government was contemplating introducing a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages​, after highlighting concerns about the nation's diabetes rates.

“The diabetes rate in Malaysia is very high because we take too much sugar,”​ said Mahathir.

The tax was officially announced​ by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng later in the year, and will come into force in April 2019.

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