“There is no definite labelling law in the country so we are releasing guidelines to help people understand what is required. We have been discussing with the department of consumer affairs for the labelling guideline,” said U Than Htut on Sunday.
The Department of Food and Drug Administration requested labelling all food products sold in the market since early last year to ensure the safety and quality of the goods.
“We will allow four months’ leniency for vendors to label their product once the final guidelines are released,” U Than Htut told The Myanmar Times.
“According to the FDA’s late 2017 market survey, most products are labelled, but some are not. One out of 10 product sold in the market does not meet the required standards for consumption. Labelling is also important for safety reasons,” he said.
All food products sold in local markets must display the address and contact information of the manufacturer/factory, manufacturing and expiry dates, FDA registration number, production number, license, and ingredient, etc., according to the FDA.
“The guidelines are written by the FDA after consulting with the Department of Consumer Affairs. There are about nine requirements for the labelling” said U Min Wun, deputy director of FDA in Yangon.
U Aye Win, president of the nMyanmar Food Processors and Exporters Association, added that labelling is important not only for food safety but also to protect manufacturers from harmful products.
”If consumers complain about a product infringing on their consumer rights, we can trace the source by looking at the label. I think four months is enough for most manufacturers to review their labels as they can start shortly,” he said.
“Labelling on all local and imported food products by the end of the year is a must. I think the department will not allow the sale of products without labels in the markets,” said U Aye Win.
In addition, the FDA is planning to draft a policy and a strategy for the commercialisation of food, drugs and cosmetics, said U Than Htut.
“The policy and strategy are very important to ensure safe products, and I would like to invite merchants and experts from the private sector to contribute,” he said, adding that the FDA will implement these safety measures as part of the “Years of Safety and Action” campaign.
The FDA announced in February 2017 that manufacturers need to label their products, and failing to do so will risk prosecution. This year’s update adds requirements as to labelling.