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Regulations on nutrition labelling of follow-up formula and prepackaged food for infants and young children take effect today

The Government's new requirements on nutrition labelling of follow-up formula and prepackaged food for infants and young children came into operation today (June 13).

The amended Food and Drugs (Composition and Labelling) Regulation (Amendment Regulation) regulates the nutritional composition of infant formula and mandates the nutrition labelling of infant formula, follow-up formula and prepackaged food for infants and young children under the age of 36 months, so as to protect the health of infants and young children who consume the products, assist parents in making informed food choices, and encourage food manufacturers to apply sound nutrition principles in the formulation of formula products and foods for infants and young children.

A spokesman for the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) said, "The Amendment Regulation was gazetted in June 2014 and the Legislative Council completed the vetting in October of the same year. To allow sufficient time for the trade to prepare for the commencement of the Amendment Regulation, the Government provided a grace period of 18 months for infant formula and the relevant requirements took effect on December 13, 2015. On the other hand, the requirements on nutrition labelling of follow-up formula and prepackaged food for infants and young children came into operation today after a grace period of two years."

The Amendment Regulation mandates the labelling of energy value and contents of 25 nutrients (1+25) for follow-up formula. For prepackaged food for infants and young children, the labelling of energy value and contents of four nutrients, namely protein, fat, carbohydrates and sodium (1+4), as well as vitamin A and vitamin D (if they are added to the food), will be required.

Formula for special medical purposes for infants and young children is exempted from the nutritional composition and nutrition labelling requirements, provided that such products are specifically labelled in accordance with the Amendment Regulation. In addition, the Amendment Regulation, modelling on the existing Nutrition Labelling Scheme, exempts products with a small package size (follow-up formula packed in a container which has a total surface area of less than 250 square centimetres or prepackaged food for infants and young children packed in a container with a total surface area of less than 100 square centimetres) from the nutrition labelling requirements.

"Anyone in breach of the Amendment Regulation following its implementation will be liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months upon conviction," the spokesman said.

The spokesman noted that the CFS has conducted a series of technical meetings for the trade and other stakeholders to prepare for the commencement of the Amendment Regulation. The CFS has also prepared technical guidelines which cover relevant technical issues.

For details of the Amendment Regulation and relevant guidelines, please visit the CFS' website at www.cfs.gov.hk. For enquiries, please call the FEHD hotline: 2868 0000.

Ends/Monday, June 13, 2016

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Last revision date: 13-06-2016