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, 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.
The Thai Food and Drug Administration of the Ministry of Public Health is an agency whose primary duty by virtue of Food Act B.E.2522 (1979). Itís main roles are implementation and enforcement of this law, and is to guarantee the quality and safety of food, by means of :
1.1 setting up food standard and specification as well as hygienic and labelling requirements.
1.2 controlling of the production and importation of food products.
1.3 approval for registration of specific-controlled food.
1.4 approval for advertisement.
1.5 approval of packaging materials.
1.6 inspection of food manufacturing premises and salers.
1.7 sampling and quality assessment of food products
1.8 taking legal action eg. Seizure, product recalls, prosecution.
1.9 conduction epidemiological study
1.10 promotion of consumer awareness and voluntary compliance of food manufacturers.
1.11 controlling of food plants to meet national standard by using GMP.
1.12 Collaboration with government agencies, private sectors as well as international organizations in the manners of technical coorperation.
1.13 To assemble, disseminate and exchange information related to food.
1.14 issuing of certification
- Certification of Free-sale
- Sanitary Certification
- GMP Certification
- HACCP Certification
Food Control Division of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for regulating food control activities as follows :
1. Pre-marketing Control
Activities include issuance of Manufacturing License and Importation License to manufacturer and importer respectively ; registration of controlled food products before marketing ; approval of food additives to be used in foods, labeling and advertising approvals.
1.1 Manufacturing License
Plant lay-out is to be submitted for approval and plant inspection by food inspector is required before and manufacturing license is issued. This license is to be renewed every three years.
1.2 Importation License
A license is required in order to import food into Thailand. A licensed importer may import various kinds of food providing that they are approved by the Thai FDA. The designated storage or warehouse has to be inspected and approved by the Thai FDA before a license is issued. An importation license is to be renewed every three years as well.
1.3 Product Registration
If a food product, either manufactured or imported, is categorized as Specific-Controlled Food, it must be registered. Analysis of the product as well as details of the process and ingredients are required for the registration process and the standard of these food products have to meet the standard specified in the Ministerial Notification.
1.4 Labeling Approval
Some product such as dietary supplement are required to bear labels containing Thai language and subjected to be approved by Thai FDA prior to sell in the market. For food products, in general, labeling must follow the Notifications of the Ministry of Public Health No.194 (B.E.2544).
1.5 Advertising Approval
Any form of advertisement for food through any media is subjected to be approved by Thai FDA. False or deceptive advertisement on quality or benefit of food is prohibited.
2. Post-marketing Control
The purpose of Post-marketing Control is to ensure that food distributes to consumers are wholesome and have quality that complies with the national food standard. As a result, this measure deals primarily with the activities of enforcement. Inspection of all food factories and premises throughout the country is conducted regularly, together with sampling of food products for analysis and assaying to ensure compliance with legal requirements. In case of violations, actions like seizure, recall, and prosecution will be executed. In general, there are two types of inspections :
2.1 Regular Inspection.This is planned inspection to ensure that the FDA annual plan on food has been done successfully.
- Routine Inspection. This is a periodic inspection particularly to the premise received licenses.
- Surveillance Inspection : to inspect manufacturing premises, warehouse for importer, sellers to comply with the regulation concerned.
- Point of Entry Inspection. This is done by food inspectors stationed at the ports to ensure the safety of food products entering into the country comply with the regulations concerned.
2.2 Suspected or Petitioned Inspection
- This is a particular type of inspection with specific aim to investigate and gather necessary evidence for taking legal action.
- This includes an inspection to find out the cause of the complaint or rejected food from the importing country, so as to solve the problems of food manufacturers and food products.
3. Food Surveillance
The aim of food surveillance is to assure the safety and quality of food items distributed in market place. Food surveillance is conducted by several ministerial organization and TFDA also plays a main role in this activity. Food are taken from market place and then analyzed to ensure the conformity to the standards.
Other organization concerned
- This Department of Medical Science, Ministry of Public Health provides food analytical services for all food control activities of the Food and Drug Administration.
- Provincial Institute : At the provincial level, Provincial Health Offices (76 Provinces) throughout the country are delegated by the FDA to take responsibility for certain extents according to the Food Act. The Provincial Health Offices are in charge of food control in each provincial boundary. It coordinates its policies with the Central Institute (FDA) and its duties and responsibilities are similar to those of the FDA. These provincial personnel are to be trained, supervised and guided by the FDA.