THAILAND – Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released draft regulations proposing stringent labelling restrictions for plant-based meat and dairy alternatives.

If enacted, these measures could significantly impact how plant-based products are marketed in the country.

The FDA has highlighted the need for clearer guidelines and stricter oversight of alternative proteins, citing an absence of adequate regulations.

In response, the agency has assembled a research team to examine international practices concerning novel foods.

This initiative aims to inform and develop Thailand’s own regulatory framework and standards.

Consumer interest in alternative proteins is on the rise, and numerous products have entered the market. However, there is currently no clear direction for their regulation and safety supervision in Thailand,” the FDA stated.

The FDA is conducting a comprehensive study of domestic production and importation of alternative protein products.

This study will help shape future regulations and standards, starting with plant-based proteins and expanding to other alternatives such as insect-based and cultured meats, as well as fermentation-derived proteins.

One of the proposed regulatory changes includes a ban on the use of meat- and dairy-related terms in the labeling of vegan products.

This means terms typically associated with animal products, like “meat” and “cheese,” may no longer be permissible on plant-based food labels.

Additionally, the draft regulations mandate that all plant-based products must prominently display nutritional information.

This includes energy content, micronutrient levels, and any ingredient claims that could impact consumer health.

Another significant aspect of the proposal is the prohibition of images or symbols that could imply animal origin.

This ban would apply to both the front and back of packaging labels.

While images depicting the product itself, such as nuggets or burgers, would be allowed, pictures of animals like pigs or cows would not be permitted, even if the product is clearly labeled as “meat-free.”

For all the latest food safety news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.