Guidelines to help firms meet healthy-food claims

Local food manufacturers have been producing food claiming to be healthy and nutritional to meet the increasing demand of consumers focusing on health and wellness.

But they also need to meet the requirements set by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) to have approved health and nutrition food claims on their products.

A document that spells out how food and beverage companies in Singapore, which number nearly 850, can meet AVA standards was launched yesterday by food standards regulatory body Singapore Manufacturing Federation-Standards Development Organisation (SMF-SDO), and Spring Singapore.

The document provides guidelines targeted at local players that lack the resources and expertise to manufacture food meeting the requirements of 144 AVA-approved food claims.

Such labels include "reduced sodium intake", "low in calories" and "sugar-free", for example.

Mr Sunny Koh, deputy president of the Singapore Manufacturing Federation, said the guidelines, together with AVA standards, would help make local products more competitive and "give home-grown companies a competitive advantage when they internationalise".

The guidelines were developed with reference to international and local food safety regulatory standards.

Representatives from nearly 250 companies attended the launch.

"This (document) helps to make the process more efficient and speeds up the time (for products to hit the) market," said Mr Andrew Lim, co-founder of Boxgreen, a local online health snack retailer that was established in 2014.

Businesses which are interested in obtaining the document can purchase an online copy from the Singapore Standards eShop for $14.

The SMF-SDO will be scheduling workshops over the next few months to help industry players effectively implement the stipulated guidelines.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2017, with the headline 'Guidelines to help firms meet healthy-food claims'. Print Edition | Subscribe