Policy Picks: India Basmati rice standards, EU deforestation regulation, Taiwan plant-based bill and more feature in our round-up
Bringing to the boil: India launches Basmati rice standards amid longstanding geographical dispute with Pakistan
India’s food safety authority has launched a set of formal standards for the premium Basmati rice variant in what appears to be a further step in its quest to establish it as intellectual property belonging to the country under the protection of Geographical Indications (GIs).
India and Pakistan are the only two exporters of Basmati rice globally, which is a major source of income for many farmers in both countries due to its premium status across many markets.
Both nations have been engaged in a bitter brawl over this rice and who the GI Tag and protection for this commodity should belong to for many years.
Not in good conscience: Malaysia government and agricultural leaders condemn ‘highly demeaning’ EU deforestation regulation
Government and industry representatives from the palm oil and rubber sectors in Malaysia have urged the European Union (EU) to withdraw ‘highly demeaning’ clauses within its controversial deforestation regulation, punctuating this with a 500-strong protest in the capital city centre.
Ever since the EU approved the deforestation regulation in parliament last year, disputes have arisen from various quarters especially developing markets that are key producers of the various commodities set to be affected by the regulation – rubber, palm oil, coffee, cocoa and so on.
Industry experts have also predicted a variety of negative repercussions as a result of this, from significant price hikes to food and beverage products in and out of the EU as well as a strong possibility that this will start a trade war between Europe and South East Asia.
World’s most vegan-friendly nation? New climate bill reinforces support for plant-based diets rooted in Taiwanese culture
Taiwan’s largest plant-based food manufacturers claim consumers are increasingly adopting vegetarian diets for sustainability and health reasons, as opposed to religious factors, and say that recent government policies are helping propel further growth.
Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture recently passed a climate bill mandating government departments to promote low-carbon diets, including plant-based and locally sourced foods.
This was preceded by lobbying from local civil society organizations, which managed to get sufficient political support to pass the bill.
Protecting trade secrets: China revises wine labelling regulations to protect domestic manufacturers
China has published new draft regulations for wine labelling standards in the country, with an emphasis on protecting domestic firms’ trade and formulation secrets while maintaining strict food safety standards.
Based on findings from a three-year long study conducted by a working group comprising the China Food Science and Technology Society, China Food and Fermentation Industry Research Institute, National Food Safety Risk Assessment Centre and the China Alcohol Industry Association since 2019, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) has published a new set of draft regulations to govern local alcoholic product labelling.
One key element in the draft rules seeks to protect local wine manufacturers from having to unnecessarily reveal ingredient information that would detrimentally affect their trade secrets or IP rights, particularly when it comes to fruit wines.
World-first voluntary guidelines: Singapore introduces food safety standards in the e-commerce space
Singapore has developed a new set of voluntary food safety guidelines for businesses across the food e-commerce supply chain.
The guidelines for food e-commerce were developed by a working group comprised of a government agency, industry associations and private sector players. There has been an upward trend in the supply and demand for food via e-commerce – as more brick-and-mortar food businesses moved online.
However, divergent practices pertaining to product safety were noted across different e-commerce platforms. The Working Group saw the need for “a common understanding of industry best practices for the management of online sales of food products.”