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Food Safety Focus (198th Issue, January 2023)– Article 4

Harmful Substances in Food (Amendment) Regulation 2021 to Commence in Phases in 2023

The Harmful Substances in Food (Amendment) Regulation 2021 was passed in July 2021. It aims to strengthen the regulatory control of mycotoxins in food, as well as setting or updating maximum levels for other harmful substances in edible fats and oils, condiments or formula products intended for infants. In accordance with the World Health Organization's recommendation, the Amendment Regulation also lists partially hydrogenated oil (PHO), the main source of industrially produced trans fatty acids (IP-TFAs), as a prohibited substance in food. Such amendment serves to eliminate IP-TFAs at source to protect public health.

The maximum levels of mycotoxins and other harmful substances in food will come into force on 1 June 2023, and provisions on prohibiting PHO and the associated labelling requirements will take effect on 1 December 2023. The trade should ensure food sold compiles with the legislation. Food industries can produce healthier food by reducing trans fats and replacing IP-TFAs. Consumers should maintain a balanced diet comprising a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.