Singapore rolls out new guidelines for functional foods

03:52 SGT August 18, 2017
Functional food manufacturers in Singapore have to follow new guidelines to produce healthy and nutritional foods

Jointly issued by the Singapore Manufacturing Federation Standards Development Organisation (SMFSDO) and SPRING Singapore, the Technical Reference TR 58 Guidelines are aimed at manufacturers of food products with nutrition or health claims.

Growing needs and changing lifestyles have seen a surge in the consumption of healthier food choices such as low sugar products, immunity boosting foods, and foods that reduce risk of diseases or promote general well-being. Health and wellness have been at the forefront of consumer food trends. Thus, the functional food industry is growing rapidly to capitalize on consumer interest.

The pool of more than 850 F&B companies in Singapore aims to maximize on this trend.

Moving a step closer to continue its strong global reputation for food safety and quality, functional food manufacturers in Singapore will now have to abide by TR 58 as a guidance document to qualify the regulatory requirements set by Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) on health and nutritional claims. The guidelines take reference from the Codex Alimentarius recommendations on health and nutritional claims.

“The food manufacturing industry can leverage quality and standards as strategic tools to strengthen product innovation and Research & Development. TR 58 will accelerate Singapore companies’ development and commercialisation of functional foods. This is aligned with the vision of the Food Manufacturing Industry Transformation Map (ITM) which seeks to position Singapore as a leading food and nutrition hub in Asia by 2025,” said Choy Sauw Kook, assistant chief executive, Quality and Excellence, SPRING Singapore.

Health and wellness have been at the forefront of consumer food trends. Thus, the functional food industry is growing rapidly to capitalize on consumer interest.

Added Dr Loke Wai Mun, convenor of Working Group for TR 58: “By setting out the key processes of product conceptualization, product development and commercial production for applying functional ingredients in food products, this TR can help level the playing field for small and medium-sized food manufacturers by providing them access to the recommended industry practices to overcome uncertainties or delays in new functional food product development. This will help local SME food manufacturers increase their competitiveness.”

Sunny Koh, deputy president of Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) and chairman of SMF’s F&B Industry Group, said: “The food industry had worked with AVA’s Advisory Committee on Evaluation of Health Claims to expand the list of approved health and nutritional claims over the past few years.

“The development of TR 58 together with AVA rides on those efforts, to encourage manufacturers to produce innovative food products with nutritional or health claims. This would help enhance their product competitiveness and give home-grown companies a competitive advantage when they internationalize.”

The set guidelines will help budding food entrepreneurs save time, cost and effort to meet the stringent regulatory norms.