From plant-based and cell-based regulations to policies governing alcohol, organic foods and sugar reduction, we bring you eight of the top regulatory updates that the Asia Pacific food and beverage industry can expect in 2021.
‘Apply ASAP’: Singapore urges cell-based firms to apply early and prioritise safety after Eat Just success
The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has advised cell-based meat firms looking to get regulatory approval for their products to start the application process as early as possible, and always prioritise food safety to maximise their chances of success.
SFA recently made international headlines by issuing the world’s first regulatory approval of cell-based meat in Singapore to Eat Just for the use of its cell-based (or cultured) chicken as an ingredient in nuggets.
“SFA and the Novel Food Safety Expert Working Group reviewed the data Eat Just provided, which included information on the process, manufacturing control and safety testing of the cultured chicken - This was found to be safe for consumption at the intended levels of use, and so was allowed to be sold in Singapore as an ingredient in Eat Just’s nuggets product,” SFA told FoodNavigator-Asia in an email statement.
Thailand salt tax: Firms failing to reformulate risk increased costs as 2021 implementation expected
The implementation of a salt tax in Thailand is still expected to take place sometime in 2021, and this may have cost implications for food manufacturers whose reformulation efforts have not yet caught up, according to a local food industry expert.
Thailand has been discussing the implementation of a salt tax since 2018, and the plan would be to levy this on processed packaged food products in the industry, but not yet on condiments, high-sodium seasonings or other ‘everyday staples’.
The country’s Excise Department, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Finance and Bureau of Tax Planning were still in discussion of this as of last year, but according to Food Science and Technology Association of Thailand (FoSTAT) Chairman Professor Anadi Nitithamyong, the plan has been delayed in favour of caution.
Experts predict that the incoming United States administration of President-elect Joe Biden will mean positive news for the food and beverage industry in the Asia Pacific region, especially when it comes to food-related investments and repairing trade relations.
The primary expectation for the food and beverage industry is a ‘normalisation’ of trade relationships between the United States and countries in APAC after a ‘tumultuous’ few years.
“Overall, we definitely expect much less chaos in US trade relations with countries in APAC, than has been the ongoing situation over the past few years [under Trump] – I’d really say that normalisation [of trade relations] is finally in sight,” trade consultancy firm ITS Global Director of Market Access Jon Berry told FoodNavigator-Asia.
Fermentation guidelines: Japan looks to boost natto exports and guarantee safety with regional Codex standards
Japan is looking to boost the exports and guarantee the food safety of one of its most iconic foods, the fermented soybean product natto, by working with the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) to develop regional standards to govern its production in Asia.
The CAC is the main part of the international Food Standards Programme run by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the Codex Alimentarius (English: Food Code) is a collection of standards, guidelines and codes of practice adopted by this commission.
Japan is working to establish a specific set of guidelines and standards at a regional level for fermented soybean products such as natto, and the local Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) recently announced that it had officially begun work on this.