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Malawi - Malawi’s ‘anything goes’ food market: weak regulations on nutrition and health claims


May 06, 2024

Regulations on nutrition and health claims are useful to protect consumers from deceptive practices of unscrupulous food manufacturers. Consumer protection is best achieved when relevant regulations are available and enforced. So far, no study has analyzed the robustness of regulations on nutrition and health claims in Malawi. In the present study, Malawi’s regulation was compared with Codex Alimentarius as well as European, U.S American, and the Republic of South Africa’s (RSA) regulations on nutrition and health claims. The study revealed that Malawi does not have regulations or guidelines on health claims and therefore, any health claim can be made. Likewise, Malawi’s regulation on nutrition claims was found to be the least demanding and less elaborate. Out of 11 nutrition claims related requirements, the Malawi regulation satisfied only 3. The lack of comprehensive nutrition and health claims regulations in Malawi may give an opportunity to dishonest manufacturers to mislead and deceive consumers. False claims can also derail government’s efforts towards addressing some nutrient deficiencies through food fortification programs. Currently, it is difficult to effectively regulate nutrition and health claims in Malawi. Therefore, the findings are a wake-up call for Malawi and other countries that may be in a similar situation to take the necessary remedial actions.


Author(s):  Bell, R., Gama, A.P & Matumba, L

Published in: J Consum Prot Food Saf


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