ITO Thailand Hygiene Blog
The shelf life of food on the label
Labelling Laws in Thailand
In Thailand, Food labelling laws are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Public Health, and labelling shelf life will depend on types of food as follows:
Type of Food
-Food that manufacturers can provide information such as hawker stalls, fresh unprocessed food (except for trimming, dissecting, and size reducing), packaged in a visible condition (excluding processed foods), and food in containers served in a restaurant or delivery service without having to have a food serial number does not have to be labelled. (1)
-Food in containers (food that is packaged, sealed and ready for sale), the shelf life of the food must be specified according to the specific food declaration as shown in Table 1. For food that is at risk of danger or might cause harm in consumers who are at risk (such as infants, patients), the labelling is more stringent.
Food Shelf-Life Information
-“Manufacture Date” means the date the food product is manufactured.
-“Expiration Date” means the end date of the food quality when stored as specified. This is often a safety problem such as the growth of microorganisms, accumulation of toxic substances and so on, which are not safe for consumption when expired.
-“Best Before Date” means the end of the period when the food is of good quality when stored as specified. Most of these food groups tend to have deterioration in quality first, such as taste, smell, texture changes, vitamin amount, nutritional value or function, less than what is stated on the label, but there is no problem of safety or danger immediately after the end of the good quality period.
When past the expiration date or best before date, according to the law, the product cannot be sold.
Food Shelf Life(3)
For general food without specific announcements, specifying shelf life of food will depend on the shelf life of that food.
-In case the food has a shelf life of less than 90 days, the shelf life of the food shall be stated as “Day, Month and Year” respectively, where the month may be indicated in letters or numbers.
-In case the food has a shelf life of more than 90 days, the shelf life of the food shall be stated as “Day, Month and Year” or “Month and Year” respectively, where the month may be indicated in letters or numbers, and specify “Best before” or “Expire” as well.
Must specify “Best before” or specify shelf life of food in the form of manufacture date or expiration date according to the announcements of the Ministry of Public Health.
5 tips about food shelf life labelling(2)
♦Shelf life can be specified in Buddhist era or Gregorian era but must communicate clearly.
♦All shelf life texts must be of the same size.
♦If the letters cannot be printed on the packaging, can use stickers instead.
♦Products with an expiration date or best before date can be sold until midnight of the specified date.
♦If the product is sold after the expiration date, the seller will be fined not more than thirty thousand baht.
Food shelf-life labelling in other countries.
For food products imported from other countries, when it is sold in the country, it must be labelled according to the law in Thailand. However, it can sometimes be noted that on the packaging there may be an additional shelf-life information of food according to the laws of the country of origin. Consumers need to be aware of the type of labelling. At the same time, entrepreneurs who want to export food products must follow the pattern of the destination country when it comes to food shelf-life labelling. For example, Japan, China and Korea specify the date as a year, month, and day respectively, with China using the date of manufacture together with specifying how old the product is from the date of manufacture (such as 2 years from the date of manufacture). And for American products, they use month, day, and year system.(4) Therefore, with these differences, entrepreneurs should study the information clearly when they want to export products.
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1.Announcement of the Ministry of Public Health (No.367) 2014 Subject: Labelling of Food in Containers. [Online] http://www.oic.go.th/FILEWEB/CABINFOCENTER3/DRAWER091/GENERAL/DATA0000/00000520.PDF
2.Questions and Answers to the Announcement of the Ministry of Public Health (No.367) 2014 Subject: Labelling of Food in Containers and Amended Version (No.383) [Online] http://food.fda.moph.go.th/data/news/2559/QandA(367).pdf
3.Announcement of the Ministry of Public Health (No.383) 2017 Subject: Labelling of Food in Containers (No.2). [Online] http://www.ratchakitcha.soc.go.th/DATA/PDF/2560/E/097/24.PDF
4.Date Format in the United States. [Online] https://iso.mit.edu/americanisms/date-format-in-the-united-states/#:~:text=The%20United%20States%20is%20one,yyyy%2Dmm%2Ddd)
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