Thai Food & Drug Association (FDA) has recently issued draft proposals on issues covering expiry dates and allergen warnings on packaging for prepackaged foods. Thailand hopes to improve its existing labelling regulations to be aligned with international standards.
The proposal considers the clear placement of information on food allergies found in the packaging for example, ‘Contains allergen XX’ or ‘There is allergen XX’ or an alternative statement to mention the potential existence of an allergen for example ‘They may be allergen XX’ or ‘May contain allergen xx’ to warn consumers on the possible contamination during the manufacturing process. In addition, this warning needs to be placed near to the ingredients list.
Potential allergens identified and need to carry this warning include gluten like wheat, rye or barley or hybrids of these products; crustaceans like crabs, shrimp and lobsters; shellfish and squid; eggs and egg products; fish and fish products; peanut and peanut products; soy and soy products; milk and dairy products; nuts with hard shells like almonds and pecans and related products; as well as products with a sulphite content of 10mg/kg or more.
The only exception will be on products that are already clearly associated with these allergens for example ‘Fresh Milk’ or ‘Peanut Snacks’.
With regards to expiry date, food manufacturers are recommended to follow a more specific format for day, month and year for products that have a shelf life of more than 90 days. In addition, the wordings should be clear as either ‘Expiry Date’ or ‘Should be consumed before’ to avoid unnecessary confusion.