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REVIEW: Regulatory status of bioactive non-nutritional food components in Southeast Asian countries


Jan 18, 2023

A review conducted on the regulatory status of bioactive non-nutritional food components in foods and beverages in eight Southeast Asian countries indicates these components have been recognised for their health benefits. Indonesia and Malaysia have promulgated specific regulations allowing the addition of these bioactive components in foods and beverages, provided a list of the permitted components that may be used, and clear process for the industry to apply for new components. Both countries also have separate regulations that govern the making of function claims which refer to the beneficial physiological or health effects brought about by such bioactive components. The other six countries do not have a specific regulation governing the use of these bioactive components. However, these countries also permit the making of similar function claims, provided they are scientifically substantiated, preferably human clinical trials. Each country has slightly different requirements and process in place for reviewing applications for claims. All countries, except Myanmar, also allow the sale and marketing of foods containing probiotics, another functional food component. Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand have promulgated specific probiotic regulations and, except for Indonesia, have published permitted list of probiotics. All seven countries have provisions for the industry to apply for the use of new probiotics. Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand permit the use of a pre-approved generic function claims related to probiotics. The sharing of experiences in regulatory approaches would be beneficial to the advancement of scientific and regulatory development of bioactive non-nutritional food components in the region and would benefit all stakeholders.

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