Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards

An Expert's View about Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in Thailand

Posted on: 30 Dec 2011

The Food Act gives MOPH’s FDA the authority to license, inspect, recall and establish safety and quality standards for food products.

THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT POLICY Required Report - public distribution Date: 12/9/2011 GAIN Report Number: TH1153 Thailand Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards - Narrative FAIRS Country Report Approved By: John Wade, Agricultural Counselor Prepared By: Orestes Vasquez, Agricultural Attaché; Sakchai Preechajarn, Agricultural Specialist; Sukanya Sirikeratikul, Marketing Specialist Report Highlights: TH1153: Food safety is under the purview of the Ministry of Public Health through the Food Act of B.E. 2522 (1979). The Food Act gives MOPH’s FDA the authority to license, inspect, recall and establish safety and quality standards for food products. Thailand usually follows Codex standards for food additives and Codex MRLs for pesticides and veterinary drugs. Animal health is responsibility of the Department of Livestock Development (DLD) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) through the Animal Epidemic Act B.E. 2499 (1956) and the Animal Epidemic Act (No. 2) B.E. 2542 (1999). Among the activities the DLD carries out to protect animal health monitoring imports of meat and meat products, slaughterhouses, and field operations. Although Thailand concurred to adopt OIE guidelines on animal health requirements under the WTO SPS Agreement, this is not the case as in many instances Thailand’s import requirements exceed those of the OIE. Plant health is the responsibility of the MOAC through the Plant Quarantine Acts B.E. 2507 (1964), revised in 2008, and the Hazardous Substance Act B.E. 2538(1995) which was revised in 2008. Under the Plant Quarantine Act, the MOAC monitors the importation of plants and seeds through surveillance, import permits, and pest risk analysis (PRA), while the Hazardous Substance Act monitors and controls the manufacturing, import/export and storage of agricultural chemicals through product registration and import/export permit requirements. Thailand follows IPPC guidelines and standards. Section I. Food Laws: The laws and regulations governing the Thai food industry are confined to the scope of the Food Act of B.E. 2522 (1979). The Act gives the Ministry of Public Health the authority to implement the Act through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is a department within the Ministry. Under the Act, all establishments producing food for sale or importing food for sale must be licensed by the Food Control Division of the FDA. The application and granting of licenses must be in accordance with the principles, procedures or conditions prescribed in the Ministerial Regulations, which are periodically elaborated, handled, and issued by the FDA’s Food Control Division. 1.1 Food Act of B.E. 2522 (1979) The Food Act of B.E. 2522 (1979) remains in effect. The Act defines the word “Food” as edible items and those which sustain life, including: (A) Substances that can be eaten, drunk, dissolved in the mouth or induced into the body by mouth, no matter in what form, but not including medicine, psychotropic and narcotic substances. (B) Substances intended for use or to be used as ingredients in the production of food including food additives, coloring and flavoring materials. The Act classifies food into four categories as listed below: 1. Specifically-controlled foods: Under this category registration is required. Legal provisions are established regarding standard quality, specifications, packaging and labeling requirements, as well as other aspects of good manufacturing practice. At present, 14 types of food have been listed in this category. 2. Standardized foods: Food produced under this category must adhere to quality standards as defined in the regulations. This category was created to standardize the production of foods that were locally produced food from small-scale or household industries in order to provide consumers the ability to differentiate such products by qualitative attributes, and encourage food producers on attaining hygienic quality of their products. Standardized foods do not require registration and consists of 31 types of food. 3. Food required to bear standardized labels: This category is less-restrictive than the first two categories, as food under this category exposes a low risk of hazard to consumers’ health and does not have to follow specific quality standards for its manufacturing, however must bear standardized labels that provide consumer information. There are 13 food items in this category. 4. General foods: Consists of food raw, cooked, preserved, non-preserved, processed or non-processed foods that are not listed in the above categories. Although registrations are not required, general food products are controlled and monitored on hygiene, safety, labeling and advertisement. The latest food category table can be found in TH8116. These categories are also subject to additional regulations associated with food production. Among these are Quality Standards of Food Containers, Plastic Containers, Feeding Bottles, Labeling Requirements and Nutrition Labeling. 1.2 Prohibited Food and Substances 1. Substances prohibited to be used in foods: - Sodium cyclamate and foods contain sodium cyclamate exempt producing for export purpose. - Brominated vegetable oil - Salicylic acid - Boric acid - Borax - Calcium iodate or potassium iodate except to be used to adjust the nutrition that related to iodine deficiency as approved by the Food and Drug Administration. - Nitrofurazone, - Potassium chlorate - Formaldehyde, formaldehyde solution and paraformaldehyde - Coumarin, or 1,2-benzopyrone, or 5,6-benzo-alpha-pyrone, or cis-o-coumaric acid anhydride, or o- hydroxycinnamic acid, lactone - Dihydrocoumarin, or benzodihydropyrone, or 3,4-dihydrocoumarin, or hydrocoumarin - Methyl alcohol or methanol except for using as processing aids for export purpose. - Diethyleneglycol, or dihydroxydiethyl ether, or diglycol, or 2,2’-oxybis-ethanol, or 2,2’-oxydiethanol - Foods contain melamine and its analogues (cyanuric acid, ammelide and ammeline) 2. Food prohibited to be manufactured, imported, or sold: - Corn and corn products with Cry 9C DNA Sequence. - Ready-to-eat gelatin and jelly, which contain glucomannan or konjac flour packed in small containers with diameter or diagonal of the widest part not larger than 4.5 cm. - All kinds of puffer fish and foods contain puffer fish meat as ingredients. - Dulcin (para-phenetolcarbamide) which is used as sweetener. - Cyclamic acid and its salts excluded salt of cyclamic acid which is sodiumcyclamate. - AF2 or furylframide as common name or 2-(2-furyl)-3-(5-nitro-2-furyl) acrylamide as chemical name which used as food additive. - Potassium bromate as food additive - Food contains dulcin, AF2, Potassium bromate or cyclamic acid and its salts as ingredient excluded salt of cyclamic acid which has sodiumcyclamate as ingredient. - Food contains daminozide or succinic acid 2,2-dimetylhydrazide. - Crude extract which is non-water extraction and its derivatives from steavia or stevia rebaudiana, bertoni which is not stevioside exempt producing for export or sell to manufacturer for exporting or sell to producers who extract stevioside from stevia. - Foods contain melamine and its analogues (cyanuric acid, ammelide and ammeline) - Foods contain objects other than food packed inside food packages, except for the purposes of food quality or standard preservation such as desiccator, oxygen absorber, etc in separate packages; seasonings; or consuming accessories (such as plastic spoon, chopsticks, measuring spoon, etc.) Objects other than food may be packed with the food packages, but only if they do not pose a risk to humans or mislead consumers that those objects can be eaten. 3. Food prohibited to be imported or sold: 3.1 The following foods that expiry date or the suitable period of consumption of which has lapsed as stated in the label: - Infant food and food of continuous formula for infant and children. - Supplementary food for infant and children. - Modified food for infant and modified milk of continuous formula for infant and children. - Cultured milk. - Cow’s milk that has passed pasteurized process, for example, pasteurized fresh milk, recombined pasteurized milk, flavoured pasteurized milk and pasteurized milk products, etc. - Food with special objectives. 3.2 Beef and beef products from Great Britain, Portugal, France, Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Spain, Czech Republic, Greece, Japan, Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria, Finland, Israel, Poland, Canada, and U.S.A.; except milk and milk products, hides and skins, gelatin and collagen prepared from hides and skins and bone, protein-free tallow, dicalcium phosphate, deboned skeletal muscle meat and its products from cattle 30 months of age or less, blood and blood by-products (see more details in item 6.6 of Section 6). 1.3 Regulatory Procedures While some of the following information does not specifically apply to U.S. exporters, the following will be levied upon importers of U.S. products. The principles of regulatory procedures for food involve the following aspects. 1.3.1 Pre-marketing Control Activities at this stage are the responsibility of the Food Bureau in the FDA. (A) Establishing food standards and manufacturing requirements: Food produced and the manufacturing practices to produce it must meet the minimum acceptable requirements as established by the Subcommittee on Food Standards and Local Manufacturing Requirements. (B) Food manufacturing licensing: Local food manufacturers that have the intent to sell their products must apply for a license prior to being operational. Plant layouts must be submitted for approval to the Thai FDA’s Food Bureau. The FDA inspectors will then visit and inspect the plant before issuing a manufacturing license can be issued. It is the responsibility of the licensee to renew the license every three years. (C) Food importation licensing: A license is required for importing food for sale in the country. FDA inspectors will visit and examine the suitability of the designated storage facility or warehouse before a license is issued. A licensee may import various kinds of food provided that the Office of Food and Drug Administration approves the foods. A license to import must be renewed every three years. A temporary import license will be needed for occasional import of food i.e. for exhibition. An exemption will be granted only for the import of food samples for laboratory test and consideration for purchase. (D) Food product registration Importers of food products deemed to be specifically-controlled food are required to register the products before importation for sale. However, exemptions are granted for products imported directly by food service outlets and manufacturers for their own use as ingredients or materials for food processing. Applications for product registration should be submitted to the Food Bureau, FDA. For those residing outside the Bangkok Metropolitan area, applications can be submitted to the relevant Provincial Office of Public Health. The approximate amount of time required for product registration, starting from submitting the application, is about one month. However, delays are usually caused by inaccurate or incomplete information in the documents, which is usually the basis for failing to register a product. The details of applying for food product registration are provided in appendixes of the report; a flow chart of product registration is available in TH8116 Food Product Registration in Thailand report. (E) Food labeling: Imported food products, which are categorized as specifically-controlled food, standardized foods, and foods required to bear labels are required to be labeled according to the specific requisites of each category. Details on the label requirements are provided in Section 2. (F) Nutrition labeling: Nutrition labeling is required for some products. Details on the standard label requirements are discussed in Section 2. (G) The requirement of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Since July 24, 2003 under Ministerial Notification No. 193, B.E. 2543 (2000), Titled "Method of Food Manufacturing and Equipment for Manufacturing Food and Food Storage” Thailand requires that domestic manufacturers and foreign suppliers of 56 types of products adhere to GMP. These include: - Infant food and uniform food for infant and children - Supplementary food for infant and children - Modified milk for infant and uniform modified milk for infant and children - Ice - Beverage in sealed containers - Food in sealed containers - Cow’s milk - Cultured milk - Ice cream - Flavored milk - Milk products - Food additives - Sodium cyclamate and food containing sodium cyclamate - Food for weight control - Tea - Coffee - Fish sauce - Natural mineral water - Vinegar - Edible oil and fat derived from animal or vegetable - Peanut oil - Cream - Butter oil - Butter - Cheese - Ghee - Margarine - Semi-processed food - Some particular sauces - Palm oil - Coconut oil - Mineral drink - Soybean milk in sealed containers - Chocolate - Jam, jelly, marmalade in sealed containers - Food for special purpose - Alkaline-preserved Eggs - Royal jelly and Royal jelly products - Products from the hydrolysis or fermentation of soybean protein - Honey (except where the place of manufacturing does not fall under the description of a factory under the law-governing factory - Fortified rice - Brown rice flour - Salted water for food flavoring - Sauce in sealed containers - Bread - Gum and candy - Processed agar and jelly - Food Supplement - Meat Products - Flavoring Agents - Prepared and processed frozen food - Herbal tea - Ready to cook food of which ingredients have been clearly separated into unit packing in the container - Bakery products - Food of animal origin other than meat products prescribed in MOPH notification No. 243/2544 (2001) Re: Some Meat Products - Rice based noodles Domestic manufacturers of these products must comply with the requirements outlined in the Ministerial Notification. Meanwhile, importers of the covered products must present an equivalent certificate of GMP for factories or plants that manufacture those products in line with the Thai GMP Law. The GMPs accepted can be any of the following: a) GMP by Thai Law; b) GMP by Codex; c) HACCP; d) ISO 9000; and e) other practice equivalent to (a)-(d). For U.S. food products, Thai FDA officials agree that U.S. practices (it is understood that all U.S. food manufacturers are already subject to 21CFR part 110) are normally superior to the GMP under the present Thai GMP Law. Accordingly, any simple statement/certificate (including HACCP certificate) that is endorsed by USG agencies will be acceptable. The statement may state that "the food product(s) are manufactured by U.S. processing plant(s) which are subject to 21CFR part 110". In 2010, the Thai FDA accepts the FSIS Form 9060-5 Meat and Poultry Export Certificate of Wholesomeness as a GMP certificate equivalent and must include the following statement "The products were manufactured in accordance with the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Hazard Analysis Critical Point (HACCP) regulatory requirement". In addition to the Ministerial Notification No. 193, the Thai FDA also set specific GMP guideline that both local and foreign food manufacturers required to comply with for below specific products, which are: Drinking water in sealed container (Ministerial Notification No. 220 / 2544 (2001) Re: Drinking Water in Sealed Containers) Pasteurized ready-to-consumed milk products (Ministerial Notification No.298 B.E.2549 (2006) Re: Production Processes, Production Equipments, and storage of ready-to-consumed milk products in liquid form which passed through pasteurization heat treatment) Irradiated food (Ministerial Notification No.297 B.E.2549 Re: Irradiated Food) 1.3.2 Post-marketing Control A. Compliance Monitoring: Monitoring processes primarily make sure that the food produced is wholesome and complies with the national food standards. Inspection of food factories and premises throughout the country are regularly conducted together with sampling of food products for laboratory testing. Technical guidance on the appropriate food production, delivery, handling and storage are also given during the monitoring process. If violations occur, product recall and prosecution will be executed. Inspection, monitoring and legal actions are the responsibility of the Inspection Division of Thai FDA. A. Food surveillance: The aim of the program is to assure the safety and quality of food distributed throughout the country. The aim of food surveillance is to assure the safety and quality of food items distributed in market place. Food surveillance is conducted mainly by the Thai Food and Drug Administration. FDA inspectors will take samples of food in markets from time to time and whenever problems are identified. The samples will be delivered to the Food Analysis Division, Department of Medical Science, for further analysis of toxins, pesticide residues, heavy metals, nutritional values, and standard conformity. Warning and legal actions such as seizure, product recall, etc. will be taken depending on the degree of violation. 1.3.3 Advertisement Any form of food advertisement through any public media is subject to approval from the FDA. False or misleading advertising on quality or benefit claims are prohibited. The Advertisement Control and Public Relations Division is responsible for the approval of the statements and visual images used in food advertising. Section II. Labeling Requirements: 2.1 Standard Labeling Imported food products or domestic food products required to bear labels. For imported foods, a Thai label must be applied where needed prior to entry and be affixed to every single item of food prior to marketing. Failure to apply the label before entry will lead to product seizure by the FDA. Note that the Thai FDA requires to pre-approve a label only for specifically-controlled foods. For other foods, the food manufacturers or food importers are responsible to prepare a product label complying with the Ministerial Notification No. 194 B.E. 2543 Re: Labeling. 2.1.1 Labeling of Food Products Sold Directly to Consumers Labels for food products sold directly to consumers shall be in Thai language with and shall have the following details, except for those exempted by the FDA: - Name of food. - Food serial number. - Name and address of manufacturer or repacker, as the case may be, together with the country where the product is manufactured. - Net content of food in metric system. a) Powdered, dry or solid food products shall display net weight. b) Liquid food products shall display net volume. c) Semi-solid or semi-liquid food products can display either net weight or net volume. d) Other food products shall display net weight. Food products in sealed containers shall display net content as well as drained weight except food ingredients cannot be separated from the liquid part. - Essential ingredients listed as percentage of the total, starting with the major ingredient. For concentrated products or those needing to be diluted or dissolved before consumption, the proportion of the products when diluted or dissolved must be displayed. a) The words “Preservatives used”, if any. b) The words "Natural food color added" or "Chemical food color added" shall appear if used. c) The words “Natural flavor added”, “Artificial flavor added”, etc. shall be presented, if used. d) The words "Artificial sweetener added" if used. e) The words "Natural scent enhanced" or "Artificial scent enhanced" if any. - Date, month and year of manufacture; month and year of manufacture; date, month and year of expiry; or date, month and year within which food remains in good quality or conforms to the standard. Accompanied by the word “Manufactured”, “Expire” or “Use Before”, as the case may be, note that: a) The date, month and year of manufacture; the date, month and year of expiry; or the date, month and year within which food remains in good quality or conforms to the standard is used to described food which can be stored for not more than 90 days. b) The month and year of manufacture; the date, month and year of expiry; or the date, month and year within which food remains in good quality or conforms to the standards is used to described food which can be stored for more than 90 days. c) The date, month and year of expiry is used to describe certain food products specified by the FDA e.g. modified milk for infants, infant food, supplementary food for infants and children, etc. The food manufacturer or importer may request the FDA to display the date, month and year of expiry for other types of food not stipulated. The information on item (a) and (b) mentioned above shall be presented in the “Principal Display Panel” whereas the information concerning item (c) can be displayed either in the “Principal Display Panel” or on the top or the bottom part of the container. If displayed at the bottom part of the food container, there shall be a statement indicating where to check for the manufactured date, expiry date or the date within which the food still remains in good quality or conforms to the standard. - Storage instructions, if any. - Preparation instructions, if any. - Specific texts to be displayed clearly are usually for food products that need precautions before use. For example, “Not Used As Infant Food” and “Not to Replace Milk for Infant” shall be presented. - Instructions on use and other useful information for products for use by a specific group of consumers e.g. a table showing baby-feeding schedule. - Labels with statements, pictures, photographs, signs, trademarks, etc. shall not give misleading statements about the products. - The label shall not contain pictures, photographs, signs, trademarks, and etc., which either explicitly or implicitly advertise other products. 2.1.2 Labeling of Food Products Sold to Food Manufacturers as Ingredients A Thai label is required except for imported products where the English label is allowed. The label must at least contain the following: - Name and type of food - Food serial number - Net content of food in metric system - Name and country of the manufacturer In this case, although a label containing Thai language is not required for imported products, the products must have the FDA’s product registration number. 2.1.3 Labeling of Modified Milk for Infants In order to promote the importance of maternal milk and the benefits received from drinking maternal milk for both infants and small children, the Thai FDA required producers and importers of modified milk and modified milk of uniform formula for infant and children to display the following statements on the label: - The best food for infant is maternal milk owing to its full nutritional content. - Modified milk for infant should be recommended by physician, nurse or nutritionist. - Incorrect preparation or mixture will be hazardous to infant. 2.2 Nutrition Labeling The regulations on nutrition labeling are based on the Ministerial Notification No. 182 of B.E. 2541 (1998) and No. 219 of B.E. 2544 (2001). Nutritional labeling is mandatory for the following types of food. - Foods making a specific nutritional claim; - Foods that make use of nutritional values in sale promotions; - Foods that specifically target a group of consumers e.g. students, executives, elderly people, etc; - Other foods which may be specified by the FDA including potato chips, corn chips, extruded snack foods, biscuits/crackers, assorted wafers as per Ministerial Notification No. 305. Effective as of December 18, 2007 the Thai FDA requires nutrition labeling for five groups of processed foods by displaying the message of “Should take less and exercise for a better health. Details of the notification is discussed in GAIN Report TH7136. Exemptions from these nutrition-labeling regulations (as defined in Ministerial Notification No. 182) are infant foods, supplementary foods for infants and children and other types of food for which labeling requirements have been otherwise regulated; food not directly sold to consumers; and food packed in small containers which will be repacked and sold in a larger container. Nutrition labeling must be presented in Thai and a foreign language is optional. The standard U.S. nutrition fact panel is not acceptable as Thai Recommended Daily Intakes may not be identical to the U.S. Recommended Daily Intakes. In addition, differences may exist in serving size and reference amount. Depending upon the labeling space, different formats are applicable, on either a vertical or horizontal basis. An example of standard comprehensive nutrition facts is provided. The format is similar to the U.S. nutrition fact panel but not identical: Details on serving size and servings per container may be omitted where the reference on serving size cannot be determined due to the nature of that food. Hence, instead of the statement “Amount per serving”, the statement “Amount per 100 g” or “Amount per 100 ml” shall be used as appropriate. 3. Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) Labeling Effective as of August 24, 2011, the Thai FDA requires that five groups of snack foods –; fried or baked potato chips, fried or baked popcorn, rice crisps or extruded snacks, crackers or biscuits, and filling wafers–label the Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) on the front of the product’s package. The GDA labeling must include the nutritional value of the product and the recommended daily consumption regarding energy, sugar, fat, and sodium. The format of the label is the following: Nutritional value per……… Consumption should be split into ………….times. *Percentage of maximum consumption volume allowed per day More details on the GDA labeling format and requirements are available in GAIN Report “Thai FDA’s New Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) Labeling” (TH1077). 2.3 Thai Recommended Daily Intakes (Thai RDIs) The Thai Recommended Daily Intake (Thai RDIs) for people of six years of age and older are the established guidelines for nutritional labeling. The Thai Recommended Daily Dietary Allowances (Thai RDA), were developed using as reference the U.S. RDA and Codex’s Nutrient Reference Values, details on Thai RDIs are provided below. No. Nutrient Thai RDI Unit 1 Total Fat 65* Gram 2 Saturated Fat 20* Gram 3 Cholesterol 300 Milligram 4 Protein 50* Gram 5 Total Carbohydrate 300* Gram 6 Dietary Fiber 25 Gram 7 Vitamin A 800 (2,664) Microgram RE (IU) 8 Thiamin 1.5 Milligram 9 Riboflavin 1.7 Milligram 10 Niacin 20 Milligram NE 11 Vitamin B6 2 Milligram 12 Folic Acid 200 Microgram 13 Biotin 150 Microgram 14 Pantothenic Acid 6 Milligram 15 Vitamin B12 2 Microgram 16 Vitamin C 60 Milligram 17 Vitamin D 5 (200) Microgram (IU) 18 Vitamin E 10 (15) Milligram Alpha TE (IU) 19 Vitamin K 80 Microgram 20 Calcium 800 Milligram 21 Phosphorus 800 Milligram 22 Iron 15 Milligram 23 Iodine 150 Microgram 24 Magnesium 350 Milligram 25 Zinc 15 Milligram 26 Copper 2 Milligram 27 Potassium 3,500 Milligram 28 Sodium 2,400 Milligram 29 Manganese 3.5 Milligram 30 Selenium 70 Microgram 31 Fluoride 2 Milligram 32 Molybdenum 160 Microgram 33 Chromium 130 Microgram 34 Chloride 3,400 Milligram Notes: 1. * RDIs for total fat, saturated fat, protein and total carbohydrate are 30, 10, 10 and 60 respectively of the total daily calories (2,000 kilocalories). 2. Sugar intake should not be more than 10% of the total daily calories. 2.4 Claims 2.4.1 Nutritional Claims A nutritional claim means any presentation which states, suggests or implies that a food has particular nutritional properties including, but not limited, to the caloric value, the content of protein, fat and carbohydrates, as well as the content of vitamins and minerals. Nutritional claims constitute nutrient content claims, comparative claims and nutrient function claims. The Thai FDA generally uses Codex and U.S. FDA standards as guidelines to develop their own nutritional claims guidelines, as such the descriptors used in nutrient content claim (e.g. low in cholesterol) and comparative claims (e.g. “less”, “reduced”) generally have similar definitions to those used in the U.S. for food labeling. However, there may be some differences in the use of certain terms such as “good source” or “rich in” as the threshold values for nutrients might be greater than what is used in the US to be able to make such claims and differences may also exist in serving sizes and recommended daily intakes. Further details can be obtained from the Food Bureau, FDA. (A) Nutrient content claims are a nutrition claim that described the level of nutrient contained in a food. Examples are “source of calcium”, “high in fiber and low in fat”, etc. A food that is by its nature low in or free of the nutrient that is the subject of the claim shall not include the term “low” or “free” in the name of the food. Instead, a claim statement may be made in a general form that refers of all foods of that type e.g. vegetable oil, are cholesterol-free foods. However, foods that have been specially processed, altered, formulated or reformulated so as to lower the amount of nutrient in the food or remove the nutrient from the food may bear such a claim. (B) Comparative claims are claims that compare the nutrient levels and/or energy value of two or more foods. Examples are “less than”, “fewer”, “more than”, “reduced”, “lite/light”, etc. Comparative claims can be made if the foods being compared or “reference foods” are different versions of the same food or similar foods that are representative of the same type available in the market. The identity of the reference food shall be given and a statement of the amount difference in the nutrient content or energy value shall be expressed as a percentage or fraction, higher or lower than that of the food being compared. Also, the nutrient content per serving shall be provided. Full details of the comparison are needed. Comparative claims are not allowed in the case where reference foods already contain “low” or “very low” levels of nutrient content or energy values according to the established conditions of such terms defined in Appendix 4 of the Ministerial Notification No. 182 (B.E. 2541) Re: Nutrition Labeling. (C) Nutrient function claims are claims relating to the function of a nutrient in the body. Examples are “Calcium aids in the development of strong bones and teeth” and “Iron is a factor in red blood cell formation”. Nutrient function claims are permitted provided the following conditions are met. Nonetheless, a claim statement is subject to the approval from FDA. - Only those essential nutrients listed in the Thai RDIs shall be the subject of a nutrient function claim. - The food for which the claim is made shall be a significant source of the nutrient in the diet. - The claim must be made with reference to the nutrient not particularly to the food product. - The claim must be based on reliable scientific evidence. - The claim must not imply or include any statement to the effect that the nutrient would afford a cure or treatment for or protection from disease. 2.4.2 Health Claims A health claim means any presentation which states, suggests or implies that a food or nutrient in the food has anything to do with disease or health condition. As many factors i.e. sex, age, heredity, etc can be causes of disease for an individual, no health claim is therefore allowed on food products in Thailand. 2.5 GMO Labeling The Thai Government has banned the commercial planting of transgenic crops but does allow imports of transgenic soybeans and corn for a wide-range of domestic uses, in both the feed milling and food processing industries. On May 11, 2003 the Ministry of Public Health’s labeling law for food containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) materials/products was implemented. The regulations, claiming to protect consumers, were apparently based on the Japanese model allowing for a 5 percent tolerance. The products covered by this law are listed as follows: - Soybeans - Cooked soybean - Roasted soybean - Bottled or canned soybean or soybean contained in retort pouch - Natto (fermented soybean) - Miso - Tofu or Tofu fried in oil - Frozen tofu, soybean gluten from tofu or its products - Soybean milk - Soybean flour - Food containing product(s) from (1) to (10) as main ingredient - Food containing soybean protein as main ingredient - Food containing green soybean as main ingredient - Food containing soybean sprout as main ingredient - Corn - Popcorn - Frozen or chilled corn - Bottled or canned corn or corn contained in retort pouch - Corn flour or corn starch - Snack deriving from corn as main ingredient - Food containing product(s) from (15) to (20) as main ingredient - Food containing corn grits as main ingredient GMO labeling is required for any processed product containing recombinant DNA or protein resulting from gene technology over 5 percent of each top three main ingredients by weight, and each ingredient constitutes over 5 percent of the total product weight. Product labeling by the producer/importer is mandatory, products that do not adhere to the regulation may be confiscated and the producer/importer will be subject to the applicable penalties if found at fault. More details about GMO labeling procedures are provided in the Manual for Labeling Procedures for GMO Products according to the Ministerial Notification No. 251, B.E. 2545 (2002). 2.6 Irradiated Food Imports to Thailand Effective as of October 19, 2010 irradiated food manufacturers and importers have to ensure that irradiated food manufactured or sold in Thailand has been labeled in accordance with the requirements prescribed in the Ministry of Public Health Notification Re: Irradiated Food (2553/2010). The regulation requires the labeling of irradiated food to display the symbol of food irradiation and the wording of “irradiated” to be adjacent to the name of food or any irradiated food ingredient under the ingredient list. In addition, importers of irradiated foods must provide a certificate of the establishment for irradiation processing as prescribed in the Ministerial Notification or the equivalent form from the government authorities or other accepted documents by the government of the countries of origin. More information on the requirements is available in GAIN Report “New Requirements for Irradiated Food” (TH0075). 2.7 Iodized Salt Labeling In order to reduce the iodine deficiency in children and pregnant woman in Thailand under the Universal Salt Iodization (USI) strategy, the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires edible salts (including table salt and salt used as food ingredients) to be iodized. For table salt, iodine must not be less than 30 mg/kg of edible salt and the wording “Iodized Edible Salt” has to be displayed adjacent to the name of food. For any product containing salt as an ingredient, the wording of “Iodized Edible Salt” is also required under the ingredient list. The Thai FDA requires a message of “For people who need to limit iodine consumption” for non-iodized table salt or any product that contains non-iodized salt. The requirement will be taken into effective on December 31, 2010. Section III. Packaging and Container Regulations: The Thai FDA requires that all packaging and containers of food must comply with the Ministerial Notification No. 92, B.E. 2528 (1985) and No. 295, B.E. 2548 (2005). The guidelines on packaging and containers are as follows: (A) A container must: - Be clean - Not emit any heavy metal or other substances that would contaminate food in a volume to be harmful to health. - Free of germ contamination. - Emit no food contaminating colors. (B) Containers which are made from ceramic or enameled metal must have to conform to (A) and must also meet lead and cadmium standards as described in the Schedule 2 of the Ministerial Notification No. 92 (B.E. 2528) Re: Prescription of Quality or Standard for Food Containers, Use of Food Containers, and Prohibition of Use of Things as Food Containers. (C) Containers which are made of plastic must conform to not only the quality or standard in (A) but also the quality or standard in Schedule 1 of the Ministerial Notification No. 92 (B.E. 2528) Re: Prescription of Quality or Standard for Food Containers, Use of Food Containers, and Prohibition of Use of Things as Food Containers. (D) Plastics in the form of sheets or bags which are used as food containers must not be made from used plastic and must not have coloring except for: a) laminate plastic, only the layer that’s not in direct contact with the food; and b) plastic which is used for packing shelled fruits. (E) Plastic containers of milk, milk products, and other products similar to milk products (such as soybean milk and coconut milk) must be made from Polyethylene, Ethylene, 1-Alkene Copolymerized resin, Polypropylene, Polystyrene or Polyethyleneterephthalate (F) Use of containers that have previously been used to pack or wrap fertilizers, hazardous substance, or any substance likely to be harmful to human is prohibited. (G) Use of containers that have been made to packing other products, which are not food, that bear a design or statement that may mislead to the actual contents of a particular food is prohibited. The Ministry of Public Health announced additional measures prohibiting objects other than food to be packed into food packaging (TH8082) in the Ministerial Notification No. 310, B.E. 2551 (2008). This is in response to a publicized case of a Thai child accidentally swallowing a small toy packed inside a snack food. The impact of this notification on trade is quite limited as the new notification only affects certain forms of product promotion. This Ministerial Notification repealed the Notification no. 304 (B.E. 2550 (2007)) regarding the prohibition of any objects other than food to be packed into the food package and the major revision of this notification is as follows: - Objects other than food shall not be packed inside food packages, except for the purposes of food quality or standard preservation such as desiccators, oxygen absorber, etc in separate packages; seasonings; or consuming accessories (such as plastic spoon, chopsticks, measuring spoon, etc.) - Objects other than food may be packed with the food packages, but only if they do not pose a risk to humans or mislead consumers that those objects can be eaten. Section IV. Food Additives Regulations: Food additives are substances which normally are not used as food or essential ingredients of food, whether or not such substances have food value, but which are added for the benefits of production technology, packing, storage or transport beneficial to the quality or standards or the nature of food. They also include the substances mixed with food for the purposes stated earlier. Food additives are specified as specifically-controlled food of which the quality or standards are defined. Use of food additives must follow the set objectives for specified kinds of food and maximum permissible quantity, food additive functional classes categorized according to CODEX as listed below: - Acid - Acidity regulator - Anticaking agent - Antifoaming agent - Antioxidant - Bulking agent - Colour - Colour retention agent - Emulsifier - Emulsifying salt - Firming agent - Flavour enhancer - Flour treatment agent - Foaming agent - Gelling agent - Glazing agent - Humectant - Preservative - Propellant - Raising agent - Stabilizer - Sweetener - Thickener Use of food additives for purposes other than stated must be petitioned for the FDA’s approval. Any food additives not listed below but are available under CODEX (GSFA) are generally acceptable by the Thai FDA. The list of permitted food additives in Thailand are provided below: - Hydrochloric acid (INS 507) - Sorbic acid (INS 200) - Citric acid (INS 330) - Thiodipropionic acid (INS 388) - Benzoic acid (INS 210) - Propionic acid (INS 280) - Trans-butenedioic acid (INS 297) - Phosphoric acid (INS 338) - Formic acid (INS 236) - Malic acid (INS 296) - Lactic acid (INS 270) - Acetic acid (INS 260) - Algenic acid (INS 400) - Glutamic acid (INS 620) - L-tartaric acid (INS 334) - L-ascorbic acid (INS 300) - Isoascorbic acid (INS 315) - Guanylic acid (INS 626) - Inosinic acid (INS 630) - Glucono-delta-lactone (INS 575) - Glycerin (INS 422) - Ester gum (INS 445) - Salts of oleic acid (INS 470) - Salts of myristic acid (INS 470) - Ammonium salts of phosphatidic acid (INS 442) - Karaya gum (INS 416) - Guar gum (INS 412) - Guaiac resin (INS 314) - Gamma-cyclodextrin (INS 458) - Beewax (INS 901) - Carnauba wax (INS 903) - Carbon dioxide (INS 290) - Carmoisine (INS 122) - Carotene (natural) (INS 160aii) - Carrageenan (INS 407) - Carob bean gum (INS 410) - Curdlan (INS 424) - Candelilla wax (INS 902) - Canthaxanthin (INS161g) - Ammonia caramel (INS 150c) - Caustic caramel (INS 150a) - Sulfite ammonia caramel (INS 150d) - Calcium guanylate (INS 629) - Calcium ribonucleotides (INS 634) - Calcium inosinate (INS 633) - Calcium gluconate (INS 578) - Calcium chloride (INS 509) - Calcium sulfate calcium glutamate (INS 623) - Calcium carbonate (INS 170i) - Calcium citrate (INS 333) - Calcium silicate (INS 552) - Calcium sorbate (INS 203) - Calcium disodium (ethylenedinitrilo) (INS 385) - Calcium DL-malate (INS 352ii) - Calcium benzoate (INS 213) - Calcium propionate (INS 282) - Calcium ferrocyanide (INS 538) - Calcium phosphate, dibasic (INS 341ii) - Calcium phosphate, tribasic (INS 341ii) - Calcium phosphate, monobasic (INS 341i) - Calcium bisulphate (INS 227) - Calcium lactate (INS 327) - Calcium stearate (INS 470) - Calcium oxide (INS 529) - Calcium aluminium silicate (INS 556) - Calcium acetate (INS 263) - Calcium alginate (INS 404) - Calcium ascorbate (INS 302)Calcium hydroxide (INS 526) - Chlorine (INS 925) - Chlorine dioxid (INS 926) - Chlorophyll copper complex (INS 141 ii) - Carmines (INS 120) - Edible gelatin Gellan gum (INS 418) - Shellac (INS 901) - Sucrose acetate isobutyrate (INS 444) - Sorbitol (INS 420) - Sorbitan tristearate (INS 492) - Sorbitan monopalmitate (INS 495) - Sorbitan monostearate (INS 491) - Sunset yellow FCF (INS 110) - Sulfur dioxide (INS 220) - Silicon dioxide (INS 551) - Xylitol (INS 967) - Sodium gluconate (INS 576) - Sodium carbonate (INS 500i) - Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose (INS 466) - Sodium carboxy-methyl cellulose, enzymatically hydrolysed (INS 469) - Sodium sulfate (INS 514) - Sodium sulphite (INS 221) - Sodium sesquicarbonate (INS 500iii) - Sodium citrate (INS 331iii) - Sodium sorbate (INS 201) - Sodium nitrate (INS 251) - Sodium nitrite (INS 250) - Sodium DL-malate (INS 350ii) - Sodium dihydrogen citrate (INS 331i) - Sodium phosphate, tribasic (INS 339iii) - Sodium phosphate, dibasic (INS 339ii) - Sodium Polyphosphate (INS 425i) - Sodium phosphate, monobasic (INS 339i) - Sodium propionate (INS 281) - Sodium bicarbonate (INS 500ii) - Sodium benzoate (INS 211) - Sodium tripolyphosphate sodium ferrocyanide (INS 535) - Sodium fumalate (INS 365) - Sodium bisulfite (INS 222) - Sodium metabisulfite (INS 223) - Sodium lactate (INS 325) - Sodium acetate (INS 262i) - Sodium alumino silicate (INS 554) - Sodium alginate (INS 401) - Sodium L-tartrate (INS 335ii) - Sodium L-ascorbate (INS 301) - Sodium D-isoascorbate (INS 316) - Sodium o-phenyl phenol (INS 232) - Sodium hydroxide (INS 524) - Sodium hydrogen malate D (INS 350i) - Powdered cellulose (INS 460ii) - Xanthan gum (INS 415) - Dextrins (INS 1400) - Triacetin (INS 1518) - Triammonium citrate (INS 380) - Triethyl citrate (INS 1505) - Tripotassium citrate (INS 332ii) - Trisodium citrate (INS 331iii) - Titanium dioxide (INS 171) - Distarch phosphate (INS 1412) - Dilauryl thiodipropionate (INS 389) - Dimethyl polysiloxane (INS 900) - Dimethyl dicarbonate (INS 242) - Dipotassium 5'-inosinate (INS 632) - Dipotassium 5'-guanylate (INS 628) - Disodium 5'-inosinate (INS 631) - Disodium 5' ribonucleotide (INS 635) - Disodium 5'-guanylate (INS 627)Dodecyl gallate (INS 312) - Tartrazine (INS 102) - Talcum (INS 553iii) - Tara gum (INS 417) - Tragacanth gum (INS 413) - Thaumatin (INS 957) - Tocopherol concentrate mixed (INS 307b) - Tosom (INS 479) - Nisin (INS 234) - Nitrous oxide (INS 942) - Beta-carotene (synthetic) (INS 160ai) - Beta-apo-8'-caotenal (INS 160e) - Beta-cyclodextrin (INS 459) - Butylated hydroxytoluene (INS 321) - Butylated hydroxyanisole (INS 320) - Brilliant blue FCF (INS 133) - Bleached starch (INS 1403) - Ponceau 4 R (INS 124) - Konjac flour (INS 425) - Propane (INS 944) - Propyl gallate (INS 310) - Propyl paraben (INS 216) - Propylene glycol (INS 1520) - Propylene glycol alginate (INS 405) - Propylene glycol esters of fatty acids (INS 477) - Vegetable carbon (INS 153) - Pectin (INS 440) - Potassium gluconate (INS 577) - Potassium chloride (INS 508) - Potassium carbonate (INS 501i) - Potassium sorbate (INS 202) - Potassium sulfate (INS 515) - Potassium sulfite (INS 225) - Potassium citrate (INS 332ii) - Potassium DL-malate (INS 351ii)Potassium dihydrogen citrate (INS 332i) - Potassium nitrate (INS 252) - Potassium nitrite (INS 249) - Potassium benzoate (INS 212) - Potassium bicarbonate (INS 501ii) - Potassium bisulfite (INS 228) - Potassium propionate (INS 283) - Potassium ferrocyanide (INS 536) - Potassium phosphate, dibasic (INS 340ii) - Potassium phosphate, tribasic (INS 340iii) - Potassium phosphate, monobasic (INS 340i) - Potassium metabisulfite (INS 224) - Potassium lactate (INS 326) - Potassium acetate (INS 261) - Potassium alginate (INS 402) - Potassium L-tartrate (INS 336) - Potassium ascorbate (INS 303) - Potassium hydroxide (INS 525) - Potassium hydrogen DL, malate (INS 351ii) - Polyglycerol esters of fatty acids (INS 475) - Polyglycitol syrup (INS 964) - Polydextrose (INS 1200) - Polyvinyl pyrrolidone (INS 1201) - Insoluble polyvinyl pyrrolidone (INS 1202) - Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monostearate (INS 435) - Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monooleate (INS 433) - Polyethylene glycol (INS 1521) - Pimaricin (INS 235) - Fast green FCF (INS 143) - Ferric ammonium citrate (INS 381) - Ferrous gluconate (INS 579) - Ferrous lactate (INS 585) - Phosphated distarch phosphate (INS 1413) - Methyl cellulose (INS 461) - Methylparaben (INS 218)Methyl ethyl cellulose (INS 465) - Beta-apo-8'-carotenoic acid (INS 160f) - Magnesium gluconate (INS 580) - Magnesium carbonate (INS 504i) - Magnesium chloride (INS 511) - Magnesium silicate (synthetic) (INS 553i) - Magnesium hydroxide carbonate (INS 504 ii) - Magnesium DI-L glutamate (INS 625) - Magnesium DL-lactate (INS 329) - Magnesium stearate (INS 470) - Magnesium oxide (INS 530) - Magnesium hydroxide (INS 528) - Mannitol (INS 421) - Maltitol (INS 965) - Microcryltalline cellulose (INS 460 i) - Microcrystalline wax (INS 905ci) - Monosodium glutamate (INS 621) - Monopotassium glutamate (INS 622) - Mono and diglycerides (INS 471) - Citric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides (INS 472c) - Diacetyltartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides (INS 472e) - Tartaric, acetic and fatty acid esters of mono-and diglyceride Tartaric (INS 472f) - Lactic acid esters of mono- and diglycerides (INS 472b) - Acetic acid esters of mono- and diglycerides (INS 472a) - Momostarch phosphate (INS 1410) - Riboflavin (INS 101i) - Lecithin (INS 322) - Lactitol (INS 966) - Lysozyme hydrochloride (INS 1105) - Processed euchema seaweed (INS 407 a) - Starch sodium octenylsuccinate (INS 1450) - Starch acetate (INS 1420) - Stearyl citrate (INS 484) - Stannous chloride (INS 512) - Beetroot red (INS 162)Octyl gallate (INS 311) - Aluminium silicate (INS 559) - Aluminium stearate (INS 470) - Aluminium ammonium sulfate (INS 523) - Alpha-tocopherol (INS 307c) - Agar (INS 406) - Acacia (INS 414) - Ethyl cellulose (INS 462) - Ethyl paraben (INS 214) - Ethyl ester of beta-apo-8'-carotenoic acid (INS 160f) - Ethyl maltol (INS 637) - Ethyl hydroxyethyl cellulose (INS 467) - Erythrosine (INS 127) - Erythritol (INS 968) - Azodicarbonamide (INS 927a) - Glocose oxidase (INS 1102) - Enzyme treated starch (INS 1405) - Blomelium (INS 1101 iii) - Papain (INS 1101 ii) - Alpha-amylase enzyme, Glycogenase (INS 1100) - Protease from aspergillus oryzae, var. (INS 1100i) - Lipase from aspergillus oryzae, var. (INS 1104) - Acid treated starch (INS 1401) - Ammonium glutamate (INS 624) - Ammonium carbonate (INS 503i) - Ammonium chloride (INS 510) - Ammonium citrate (INS 380) - Ammonium bicarbonate (INS 503ii) - Ammonium lactate (INS 328) - Ammonium acetate (INS 264) - Ammonium alginate (INS 403) - Ammonium hydroxide (INS 527) - Ascorbyl palminate (INS 304) - Ascorbyl stearate (INS 305) - Alkali treated starch (INS 1402) - Indigocarmine (INS 132) - Acetylated distarch glycerol (INS 1423) - Acetylated distarch phosphate (INS 1414) - Acetylated distarch adipate (INS 1422) - Acid treated starch (INS 1401) - Oxidized starch (INS 1404) - Oxystearin (INS 387) - Ortho-phenyl phenol (INS 231) - Isopropyl citrate mixture (INS 384) - Isomalt (INS 953) - Hexa methylene tetramine (INS 239) - Hydroxypropyl cellulose (INS 463) - Hydroxypropyl distarch phosphate (INS 1442) - Hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose (INS 464) - Hydroxypropyl starch (INS 1440) - Ice structuring protein type III HPLC 12* Section V. Pesticides and Other Contaminants: Food containing pesticide residues and contaminants are enforced by Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Ministry of Public Health. FDA imposes Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) regulation based the MRL standards established by the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity & Food Standards (NBACFS). In addition, Department of Agriculture (DOA) in Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) control the use of agricultural chemicals in farming through its own regulations. 5.1 Food Containing Pesticide Residues The tolerance levels of residues allowed in foodstuffs are defined as Extraneous Residue Limit (ERL) and Maximum Residue Limit (MRL). However, zero tolerance level is set for toxic substances in agriculture which are officially prohibited under the Notification of Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, except for the established Extraneous Maximum Residue Limit. Under the Hazardous Substance Act (No. 3) B.E. 2551 (2008), the following substances are classified as Type 4 hazardous substances which are prohibited for production, import, export, and possession: - aldrin - aminocarb - aminodiphenyl - amitrole - aramite - asbestos - amosite - azinphos – ethyl - azinphos - methyl - benzidine - beta - HCH 1,3,5/2,4,6 - hexachloro- cyclohexane - BHC or HCH (1,2,3,4,5,6 - hexachloro-cyclohexane) - binapacryl - bis chloromethyl ether - bromophos - bromophos-ethyl - cadmium and cadmium compounds - calcium arsenate - captafol - carbon tetrachloride - chlordane - chlordecone - chlordimeform - chlorobenzilate - chlorophenols - chlorthiophos - copper arsenate hydroxide - cycloheximide - cyhexatin - daminozide - DBCP (1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane) - DDT (1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis (4-chlorophenyl ethane)) - demephion - demeton - o-dichlorobenzene - dieldrin - dimefox - dinoseb - dinoterb - disulfoton - DNOC (4,6-dinitro-o-cresol) - EDB (1,2-dibromoethane) - endrin - ethyl hexyleneglycol (ethyl hexane diool) - ethylene dichloride - ethylene oxide (1,2-epoxyethane ) - fensulfothion - fentin - fluoroacetamide - fluoroacetate sodium - fonofos - heptachlor - hexachlorobenzene - lead arsenate - leptophos - lindane (>99% gamma-HCH gamma- BHC) - MCPB [4-(4-chhloro-o-tolyloxy) butyric acid] - mecoprop - mephosfolan - mercury compounds - mevinphos - MGK repellent - 11 - mirex - monocrotophos - napthylamine - 4-nitrodiphenyl - nitrofen - parathion - Paris green - pentachlorophenate sodium pentachlorophenoxide sodium - pentachlorophenol - phenothiol - phorate - phosphamidon - phosphorus - polybrominated biphenyls, PBBs - polychlorinated triphenyls, PCTs - prothoate - pyrinuron (piriminil) - safrole - schradan - sodium arsenite - sodium chlorate - strobane (polychloroterpenes) - sulfotep - 2,4,5-T ([2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyl] acetic acid) - 2,4,5-TCP (2,4,5-trichlorophenol) - TDE or DDD [1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis (4-chlorophenyl) ethanel] - TEPP (tetraethyl pyrophosphate) - 2,4,5-TP ((+)-2-[2,4,5-trichlorophenoxy] propionic acid) - thallium sulfate - toxaphene or camphechlor - tri (2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate - vinyl chloridemonomer (monochloroethene) - methamidophos - parathion methyl - endosulfan Codex pesticide MRLs are generally accepted. Detailed information on food containing pesticide residues is available in the Ministry of Public Health’s Notification Re: Food Containing Pesticide Residues dated April 14, 2011 and TH9141 report: Thai FDA Revising Pesticide MRLs in Foods. 5.2 Food Containing Contaminants According to Ministerial Notification No. 98 of B.E. 2529 (1986) and Ministerial Notification No. 273 of B.E. 2546 (2003), food shall not contain contaminants with more than the following specifications. Note that the above regulations are not be applicable to specifically-controlled food or other standardized food declared by the Ministry of Public Health and for which the quantity of contaminants may be specified otherwise by the Ministry. The Thai FDA requires that all food products must be free of the following chemicals and their metabolites as stipulated in the Ministry of Public Health’s Notification No. 299 B.E. 2549 (2006) Re: Prescribed standards for some chemical contaminations in foods (2nd Edition). A list of chemicals under this stipulation is as follows. - Chloramphenicol and its salts. - Nitrofurazone and its salts - Nitrofurantoin and its salts - Furazolidone and its salts - Furaltadone and its salts - Malachite green and its salts In addition, all food products must be free of β-Agonist chemical groups and its salts, including substances which are derived from its metabolites as stipulated in the Ministry of Public Health’s Notification No. 269 B.E. 2546 (2003) Re: Prescribed Standards for β-Agonist Chemicals Group Contamination in Foods. An additional list of veterinary drugs covered by the regulation, and a set of MRLs by animal species and organ tissue/product are available in the Ministerial Notification No. 303 BE. 2550 (2007). Details of the new proposed rules are discussed in TH7060. 5.3 Food Pathogens Control Measures in Food Products Importers of 15 types of products listed under the Ministry of Public Health’s Notification Re: Food Standards as Regards Pathogens B.E. 2552 (2009) must present a lab analysis report during the food product registration process to ensure that imported products are pathogen free or their presence does not exceed maximum specified limits stated in the notification. The Thai FDA accepts lab analyses reports issued by government laboratories from the country of origin, government laboratories in Thailand, private laboratories accredited by the Thai government, or laboratories accredited by international accreditation agencies. The background of the notification can be found in GAIN Report “Amendments on Food Pathogen Standards 2009” (TH9054). 5.4 Yeast and Mold Level in Foods Thai FDA has regulated yeast and mold in food products since 1984 and no-tolerance level was imposed on yeast and mold. Until September 2010, the Thai FDA revised and set new tolerance level of yeast and mold in foods for six food categories: beverages in sealed containers, coffee, tea, chocolate, weight control foods, and electrolyte. The background of the notification and the set tolerance level of yeast and mold in foods are available under Report TH0144: Thai FDA Revising Yeast and Mold Level in Foods. Section VI. Other Regulations and Requirements: 6.1 Laboratory Testing To register the specifically-controlled food with the Thai FDA, the Lab Analysis Report is required to ensure that the products meet standard requirements under product related ministerial notifications, or products are free from microbial organisms and toxic chemical substances that are not safe for consumption, or to ensure that products are of good nutritional quality. The Thai FDA accepts a Lab Analysis Report for required food product issued by government laboratory from the country of origin, government laboratory in Thailand or the private laboratory accredited by Thai government. The submitted lab analysis report should have been issued not more than one year. The analysis results must comply with the quality or standard specified in the Ministerial notification. More information on a Lab Analysis Report is available in TH8116. 6.2 Shelf Life and Packaging Shelf longevity and packaging are critical issues. The long shipping time and the likelihood that products will pass through multiple marketing channels before reaching consumers should be considered. Due to Thailand’s hot and humid climate, moisture resistant outer and inner packaging should be used to preserve product quality. 6.3 Product Samples and Mail Order Shipments A limited amount of processed or packaged food samples for product registration and consideration for purchase can be brought in without an import license from the FDA. However, samples of raw, fresh or frozen foodstuffs e.g. meat, vegetables and fruits may be subject to other regulations established by the concerned authorities. In certain cases, a health certificate, sanitary certificate, or phytosanitary certificate will be required. Mail order shipments of products for sale are also subject to the same rules and regulations imposed by the FDA and other relevant authorities as those of regular imports. For more information, see details in the following sections. 6.4 Import Control Under the Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) Thailand is permitted to establish TRQs for 23 agricultural products under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture. The products under the TRQs system are divided into two groups. The first group comprises a number of traditional export commodities (e.g. rice, coconuts), where comparative advantage could preclude the need for import protection. A second group consists of commodities, which can be produced domestically but importation is necessary to meet the high demand of the processing industry (e.g. oilseed, corn). In administering the TRQs for the latter group, the RTG will issue higher-than commitment in-quota amounts and/or lower-than-commitment in-quota duties, when domestic production is not sufficient to cover the demand, especially for export-oriented industries. In years of sufficient domestic supply or surpluses, the RTG will limit in quota imports, both in-quota amount and in-quota duties, only to the level which is obligated in the WTO agreement. More details on the tariff-rate quotas and the out-of quota tariff rates are provided in FAS/Bangkok’s Trade Policy Monitoring Annual Report 2010. The covered commodities under the TRQ system are listed as follows: - Milk and cream, and flavored milk - Skim milk - Potato - Onion - Garlic - Coconut - Copra - Coffee bean - Tea - Pepper (piper nigrum L.) - Corn - Rice - Soybeans - Onion seeds - Soybean oil - Palm and palm oil - Coconut oil - Sugar - Instant coffee - Soybean meal - Tobacco leaf - Raw silk - Dried longan The Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce monitors imports of these products and requires that any importer must apply for an import permit. 6.5 Specific Import Control on Animals and Animal Products Through the Animal Epidemics Act B.E. 2499 (1956), the Department of Livestock Development (DLD), of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives directly monitors the importation of meat. An import permit from DLD is required for these products, frozen or chilled. Prior to importation, an application for a permit should be completed and submitted to the Animal Quarantine Station at the port (sea or air) of entry where the products will be shipped, whether by air or by sea. Also, a health certificate is needed. Upon entry, the Animal Quarantine Station must inspect the products prior to release by the Thai Customs. Generally, a U.S. health certificate is acceptable. However, the DLD may re-inspect imported meat and livestock on a random basis as they enter Thailand. The DLD also collects import permit fees on uncooked red meat, poultry, and meat offal, mainly to protect domestic producers. Fees on red meat (beef, buffalo meat, goat meat, lamb, and pork) are 5 baht/kg (US$ 164/ton), followed by 10 baht/kg (US$ 328/ton) for poultry meat and 5 baht/kg (US$ 164/ton) for offal. 6.6 Specific Import Control on Beef and Beef Products from BSE-Affected Countries The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) also officially notified on January 13, 2005 the lifting of its ban on imports and sales of certain bovine products from BSE-risk countries, including the United States. The products covered in this notification include: - Milk and milk products; - Hides and skins; - Gelatin and collagen prepared from hides and skins; - Gelatin and collagen prepared from bone; - Protein-free tallow (maximum level of insoluble impurities of 0.15% in weight) and derivatives made from this tallow; - Dicalcium phosphate (with no trace of protein or fat); - Deboned skeletal muscle meat and its products from cattle 30 months of age or less, which were not subject to a stunning process, prior to slaughter, with a device injecting compressed air or gas into the cranial cavity, or to a pithing process, and which were subject to ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections and were not suspect or confirmed BSE cases, and which has been prepared in a manner to avoid contamination with tissues listed in Article 2.3.13.13 of OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code 2005. BSE-risk tissues are brains, tonsil glands, spinal cords, eyes, etc. - Blood and blood by-products, from cattle which were not subject to a stunning process, prior to slaughter, with a device injecting compressed air or gas into the cranial cavity, or to a pithing process. In addition, in order to import uncooked boneless beef, exporters must meet the following MOAC/DLD import protocol requirements. 1) A health certificate in English signed by a full-time authorized veterinary official of the FSIS stating: 1.1 Type of cuts and package o
Posted: 30 December 2011

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