Recently, the severe food borne diseases could effect to health and economic impacts to many parts of the world such as BSE and Avian Flu. Many diseases are also investigated that might be occurred by the influence of introducing new chemicals or ingredients in foods. Therefore, food safety becomes a major concern in this century. For the purpose of ensuring food safety and quality, the Food Control Division has responsibilities for protecting consumer’s health from hazardous and deteriorated foods. Its functions include pre-marketing approval and post-marketing activities, e.g. licensing for manufacturing and importation of food commodities and registration of specially controlled food. The purpose is to screen for good quality and safe food only to enter into markets. These have been undertaken and regulated by Thai FDA under the provision of the Food Act B.E. 2522(1979).
The main responsibilities for food control are to ensure the quality and safety of food according to the Food Act B.E. 2522 (1979), which summarize as follows: 1.setting up food standards and specifications as well as hygienic and labeling requirements; 2.controlling the production and importation of food products; 3.reviewing/granting approvals for the registrations of specially controlled foods; 4.reviewing/granting approvals for advertisements; 5.reviewing/granting approvals for packaging materials; 6.inspecting food manufacturing premises and sellers; 7.conducting sampling and quality assessments of food products; 8.taking legal actions, e.g. seizure, product recalls, prosecution; 9.conducting epidemiological studies; 10.promoting consumer awareness and voluntary compliance of food manufacturers; 11.controlling food-producing plants so that they meet national standards by using GMP; 12.collaborating with other government agencies, the private sector as well as international organizations in the matters related to technical corporation; 13.assembling, disseminating and exchanging information related to food; and issuing certifications, e.g., certificates of free sale.
Laws and Regulations
In Thailand, the Food Act of B.E.2522 (1979) is the major law aimed at protecting and preventing consumers from health hazards occurring from food consumption. According to the Food Act, the Ministry of Public Health is designated to be in charge of the execution of this act. The act also empowered the Ministry of Public Health to promulgate ministerial regulations, to appoint the Food Committee and competent officers, and to set up other activities in order to carry out the provisions of the Act.
The ministerial regulations describe the procedures for applications for manufacturing licenses, importation licenses, and registration including the rates of fees, the identification card of the competent officers and the labeling of food products for exports.
The Food Committee functions as an advisory board to the Minister or the competent officers on the matters related food control administration. There are 23 members on the committee: 12 of them being ex officio members appointed from relevant government agencies, the other nine being food experts (no more than four of whom being representatives of the food industry) and appointed every two years.
Pre-marketing control activities include issuing manufacturing licences and importation licences to manufacturers and importers, respectively; registering controlled food products before marketing; approving food additives to be used in foods; and approving labeling and advertisements.
The purpose of post-marketing control is to ensure that the foods distributed to consumers are wholesome and have the quality that complies with the national food standards. As a result, this measure deals primarily with the activities of enforcement. Inspections of all food factories and premises throughout the country have been conducted regularly, together with the sampling of food products for analysis and assaying to ensure compliance with legal requirements. In case of violations, actions like seizure, recall, and prosecution are taken. In general, there are two types of inspections.
Food Control in Thailand
In Thailand, various food control activities are undertaken by several organizations. However the Minister of Public Health is designated by law to be in charge of the execution of the Food Act B.E.2522 (1979), and is empowered to appoint competent officers, promulgate regulations and set other activities in order to carry out the provisions of this act. The Food and Drug Administration of the Ministry of Public Health and the Provincial Offices of Public Health are responsible for legal food control operations with the support of food analytical sevices of the Department of Medical Sciences.
How to apply for License and Registration
For those who intend to produce or import food into Thailand have to apply for approval in 2 steps.
- Approval of the Premise
- Approval of the Product (Except for the products that are produced or imported only in the purpose of temporary case or samples for food registration or for purchase consideration, the application for product approval may not be submitted.)
Categories of foods and related law
There are three categories of foods as follows.
Category 1 : Specific Controlled Food
Category 2 : Prescribed Food to have Quality or Standard
Category 3 : Prescribed Food to have Label
How to apply for food licenses
Different procedures and different set of required documents will be applied to different food categories.