THAILAND – The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) – with support from Coca-Cola Thailand and Nestlé Thailand co-launched a successful roadshow on Nutrition Literacy in April with the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The initiative offers a valuable example of public-private collaboration in raising awareness for Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) – the front-of-pack nutrition labels that have been introduced in Thailand on snack products.

The inaugural event, held in Ayutthaya Province, was presided over by the Minister of Public Health, Witthaya Buranasiri, and was well attended by industry representatives and consumers. The FTI Food Club delegation was led by its Vice Chairman, Nophadol Siwabutr of Nestlé Thailand. High-level delegates from the FDA were also in attendance.

The event featured an exhibition with information and educational games and talks by a dietitian intended to raise consumer nutrition literacy on GDAs for energy, sugar, fat and sodium, and on how to strike a balance between diet and exercise.

Minister Witthaya thanked the private sector for its support in his opening speech, and Deputy FDA SG Srinual expressed willingness to work with the industry in addressing other issues as well, according to Nuntivat Thamhatai of Coca-Cola Thailand.

The GDA roadshow will be deployed in cities throughout Thailand over the next two months, Nuntivat said, noting that efforts to educate public health officials will continue after that. A draft GDA Trainer manual has already been developed with the FDA and the Thai Dietetics Association. FTI will finance printing of the manual once it has been finalised, before distributing it to public health officials across the nation.

GDAs are currently provided on five types of snacks in Thailand, and the industry has been keen to work with regulators in finding win-win solutions, Nuntivat said.

“The programme’s greatest success is in turning the idea of public-private collaboration into a reality,” he said, noting that the Thai FDA’s approach should, in the near future, be harmonised with best international practices given the ever-growing Thai food trade.

“However, we believe progress will only occur by working with regulators, and not against them,” Nuntivat said. “Most importantly, we are hoping to show that industry is truly committed to the spirit of public-private collaboration.”