Three New Amendments to
The use of plant sterols, stanols, and their esters is also expanded.
AVA’s stringent requirements underpin Singapore’s good track record in food safety. With more than 90 percent of our food being imported, trade facilitation is also crucial to ensure a stable supply from around the world. AVA’s Food Regulations allow us to achieve both food safety and supply resilience for the nation.
These regulations are constantly reviewed so that they remain effective in protecting public health and in line with international practice. Three amendments were made on 15 December 2014, with the gazettal of the Food (Amendment) Regulations 2014.
Four New Food Additives Incorporated
- Chromium picolinate as a nutrient source of chromium.
- Serine protease with trypsin specificity (an enzyme) from a genetically
modified strain of Fusarium venenatum.
- Polygalacturonase (an enzyme) from Aspergillus niger.
- Invertase (an enzyme) from Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
These amendments follow the adoption of the above mentioned additives by Codex Alimentarius Commission and major developed countries. The food industry can now make use of these new food additives, which were previously not permitted under Singapore’s legislation.
New Limit for Mercury in Predatory Fish
The amendments also include a new limit for mercury in predatory fish. Previously, the legal limit was 0.5 ppm (parts per million) of mercury for any fish or fish product. Some species of predatory fish that contain more than 0.5 ppm of mercury were not allowed in Singapore. Such fish accumulate a higher level of mercury due to the types of animals they prey on.
Since predatory fish are less frequently consumed in Singapore compared to other species of fish, they are not considered to be a significant source of mercury to the average human diet. Therefore, AVA amended the Food Regulations to specify a maximum level of 1 ppm for mercury in predatory fish. This is aligned to requirements in major developed countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the European Union. The limit of 0.5 ppm for mercury in other fish and their products remains unchanged.
Plant Sterols, Stanols, and their Esters
Lastly, the amendments introduced changes to the range of food products that may be added with plant sterols, plant stanols, and their esters.
The Food Regulations previously limited the addition of plant sterols (also known as phytosterols), plant stanols (also known as phytostanols), and their esters to three groups of food products: low fat milk, low fat yoghurt, and fat spreads. This was based on previously available evidence showing that plant sterols, plant stanols, and their esters contain properties that help to lower cholesterol. As such, food containing these ingredients should only be consumed by persons who require a diet to lower their blood cholesterol levels.
However, recent scientific evidence has proven that there are no safety issues with the consumption of plant sterols, plant stanols, and their esters by the general public. Therefore, AVA has amended the Food Regulations to allow the addition of these ingredients to all food products. However, the fat content in these food products will be restricted – these ingredients should not be added to high fat-content food that may cause blood cholesterol levels to rise. The mandatory labelling requirements for food products that contain this group of ingredients have also been revised.
These amendments allow for flexibility during product innovation and development by the food industry without compromising food safety, and will facilitate easier access to such products for consumers.