JUNE 6, 2022
Overview of the Legal requirements for Labelling of Pre-packaged Food
The requirement for food labelling is important as it provides the consumer with information concerning quality, safety and health of foods to allow them to choose properly. The Myanmar Food and Drug Board of Authority has issued order No.8/2022 on 20 January 2022 (“Issuance Date”), namely “Labelling Order for Pre-packaged Food” (“Pre-packaged Food Order”) which applies to labels on all pre-packaged food to be sold to consumers and caterers.
Pre-packaged food means food that has been packed in advance, either packaged or in a container, ready for offer to the consumers, or for catering purposes. This term does not include food that is packaged on the spot at the time of purchase or packed in temporary packaging by the seller at the shop or mobile location.
Basic Labelling Principles
The Pre-packaged Food Order sets out the basic labelling principles that are to be followed. They are as follows:
1. Unique features and properties of the food: Labelling shall not include any misleading description or similar expressions, false or ambiguous description, or deceptive description.
2. Related to another product: Labelling shall not include any description or similar indications, by words, pictorials or any other means that causes the customer to be confused or misled.
3. Brand or Trademark: Labelling shall not use or be described with any text, vocabulary, usage, pictorial, illustrations, own symbol, logo or similar expressions which may imply the following:
- items forbidden to represent in the marks by laws, rules or by any department or organisation; and
- using food names that are considered as mandatory representation as brand names.
4. Information: The information on the label must be:
- described in a manner that is firmly attached to, printed on the container or in conjunction with the displayed food;
- if the container is packed again by another wrapper, the wrapper shall carry the necessary information of labelling or the label on the container shall be readily legible through the outer wrapper or not obscured by it; and
- the name of food and net weight shall appear in a prominent position and in the same display surface.
5. Language: The language on the label:
- shall be in Myanmar language or any language acceptable by the consumers, does not contradict the laws, and described in more than one language;
- if the language on the original label is not acceptable, a supplementary label containing the mandatory information in the required language may be used instead of re-labelling; and
- in the case of either re-labelling or supplementary label, the mandatory information provided shall fully and accurately reflect that of the original label.
6. Information panel and principal display panel: To be followed in accordance with the prescribed orders, directives and guidelines.
Prepackage food must be labelled with the following:
- the name of food;
- ingredients list;
- net content, quantity and drained weight;
- business name and address;
- country of origin;
- lot identification;
- date marking and
- instruction for use.
For more information on the requirements of the mandatory labelling for Prepackage food, please see our client alert here.
Furthermore, depending on the nature of the food, there are additional mandatory requirements that is to be declared. This includes storage instructions, amount of the ingredients, irradiated food, Alc % Vol (% ABV) or degree of proof for alcoholic beverages, warning and nutrition facts in accordance with the prescribed provisions or Codex guidelines on Nutrition labeling CAC/GL 2-1985 and its amendments, or Myanmar standards.
Enforcement of the Pre-packaged Food Order
- Awareness and Preparatory Period: One year from the Issuance Date of the Pre-packaged Food Order
- Adjustment Period: Commencing from 20 January 2023:
- three months for import businesses, domestic medium enterprises and above
- six months for domestic small enterprises; and
- nine months for all food businesses that does not fall under (a) and (b) above.
Provided that products covered under Order of Marketing of Formulated Food for Infant and Young Child and that needs to follow this Pre-packaged Food Order shall comply within one year from Issuance Date. Also, these produces are not granted to the Adjustment Period.
The Pre-packaged Food Order does not have a retrospective effect, i.e. it does not apply to any food labels manufactured locally or imported from abroad before the Issuance Date. Moreover, only locally manufactured date or imported date shall be used to determine the effective period specification under this Pre-packaged Food Order. Further, regardless whether the label has been approved or not before the Order, the provisions shall be enforce equally.
Administrative action during the Adjustment Period
Breach & Action
- First: Notification to rectify breach, written warnings or signing a pledge.
- Second: Banning such foods from marketing, recall the foods or destroy the foods.
- Third: Temporary revocation or cancellation of the endorsement for import, export or manufacture, or distribution for a specified period.
Exemptions under the Pre-packaged Food Order
The following are exemptions provided:
- If the widest surface of a product is smaller than 10 square centimeter, except for labels for spices and herbs.
- Food packed by the retailers at the point of sale or in temporary packaging by the retailer.
- Where the packets are packed in a bigger packaging for food quality, food safety, or by any technology. In this instance, the labeling on the bigger pack shall be full and complete with a warning that is not for retail sales or direct catering.
- Pre-packaged foods which are not directly sold to the consumers but are to be sold to any processing or packing business. Nonetheless, adequate information and complete evidence relating to the labeling shall be delivered to the buyer in separate documents or by electronic method.
We will continue to monitor further developments regarding labelling requirements from the regulatory bodies and provide updates accordingly.
If you have any questions or require any additional information, please contact Thuzar Tin, or the ZICO Law Myanmar partner you usually deal with.
This alert is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice.