Overseas trends in revisions of food labeling standards and regulations

By | July 3, 2024

1. Labelling claims on nutrition facts in Taiwan

On February 19, 2024, Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published the partial amendment on Matters to be Complied with in the Nutrition Claims of Packaged Foods(Chinese), (some of which were implemented on the same day and the rest will come into effect on January 1, 2026). The main points of the amendment were to add nutrients that are subject to high claims such as “high, much, and rich in,” and their content standards. Examples of prohibited nutrition claims were also included. Noticeably, sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages can display factual and direct claims for nutrient content such as “Vitamin C added” or “contains 50 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 milliliters”, however, these beverages cannot make nutrient content claims that use subjective terms like “high vitamin C” or “rich in vitamin C” or synonymous indications with such claims, nor statements about physiological functions.

2. Front of Package labeling (FoP) system in Portugal

FoP systems have been increasingly adopted worldwide. Canada and Singapore decided to implement the systems after 2021. As for the EU, the proposal to revise EU rules to introduce standardized mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labelling was planned for implementation in 2022. However, the publication was delayed and has been postponed to a later date. The Nutri-Score FoP label has been supported by France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain (and the non-EU member Switzerland), and Portugal became the eighth European country to officially adopt the Nutri-Score in April this year.

3. French ban on ‘meaty’ terms for alternative meat labeling

In February 2024, the French government announced Decree No. 2024-144(French), which prohibited the use of “meaty” terminology on labels of plant-based meat alternatives. The decree was originally set to be enforced starting May 1, 2024. However, the implementation of this Decree has been suspended, and France needs to wait for a response from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). We need to closely monitor the course of the Decree ahead as well as with the repealed similar Decree (suspended in 2022).

4. Regulatory Trends of Plants Made with New Genome Technology Overseas

On February 7, 2024, the European Parliament approved the legal framework for New Genomic Techniques (NGT). Along with this framework, a system for the distribution of genome-edited foods is expected to be implemented for genome-edited foods. After these newly approved regulations, the main impact for food distribution is the now mandatory labeling of “genome-edited” organisms and mandatory traceability documentation. In the same month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published Guidance for Industry: Foods Derived from Plants Produced Using Genome Editing that describes how firms can voluntarily engage with the FDA before marketing food from genome-edited plants. Singapore closed a public consultation on a proposed regulatory framework for the use of genome edited (GEd) crops in food for human consumption and animal feed. The management principles of genome-edited foods in each country have been gradually maturing, but the formulation of detailed control regulations is still ongoing. It is necessary to continue to pay attention to future developments and deepen discussions.

Many countries have been striving to consolidate various knowledge on foods to secure opportunities for consumers to make voluntary and rational choices, as well as to provide easy-to-understand labeling. However, since each country has a different way of thinking and its own regulatory culture, it is important to gather information on each country and compare them on the same topic when researching regulations for foods for import and export.

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