What Progress Has ASEAN Made in Aligning Food Industry Standards? 

The recently concluded ASEAN Summit brought together regional leaders and delegates to discuss economic, environmental and diplomatic challenges, in an effort to facilitate trade and achieve greater economic integration.  

Notably, the harmonisation of regulations and food industry standards has been one of the association’s key objectives as it recognises the immense benefits harmonisation can bring to the table. Despite the efforts made in this area, more can be done to identify and address regulatory hurdles, particularly those relating to food security and safety. The ASEAN Food Safety Policy, for instance, is one of the region’s most significant initiatives and has been able to provide a basis for member states to ensure adequate access to both food and food safety.

Regulatory harmonisation is crucial to achieving ASEAN’s vision of establishing a single market and to move efforts forward, there needs to be closer and more proactive collaboration between the food industry and government bodies. Amidst worsening trade tensions and political instability, there is now a pressing need for ASEAN to shape regulatory frameworks and food industry standards, which would in turn bring about positive outcomes for trade and investment.

Food Navigator Asia spoke to Steven Bartholomeusz, Policy Director at FIA, and Assistant Professor Anadi Nitithamyong, Deputy Director for Education and Special Affairs at the Mahidol University Institute of Nutrition, who shared the ongoing efforts driving harmonisation in the food and beverage industry across ASEAN.

ASEAN harmonisation: Will 2019 see substantial success in aligning region’s food laws?

Food industry and academic experts have weighed in on the ongoing endeavours being made to standardise food industry standards in South East Asian region, and the prospects of its success this time around.

The harmonization of food industry standards amongst ASEAN countries has been on the agenda for many years, but has seen limited results thus far. Interest in this area was reignited last year, particularly in the food safety arena, and FoodNavigator-Asia spoke to two experts to find out more.

According to Food Industry Asia Policy Director Steven Bartholomeusz, the harmonisation will be taken on by several working groups under different ministerial sectors, and one of the most significant updates from these in the last year was on food safety and hygiene.

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