There is currently no legislation for the labelling of GM foods in Malaysia. The Food Quality Control (FQC), Ministry of Health Malaysia is the main governing body that controls the regulatory framework of GM foods. The decision of whether to label or not has not been finalised.
The FQC has prepared a draft for the regulation of GM food and members of the public have been invited to comment on them. The draft proposes mandatory labelling of any food containing more than 3% of genetically modified materials. It states that labelling is also required if the GM food differs in composition, nutritional value as well as its intended use from normal conventional food.
What are the different aspects of the regulatory framework, if mandatory labelling of GM food does come into force? It includes capacity building in order to ensure that proper laboratory facilities are built and enough skilled manpower is available. Furthermore, establishment of scientific detection methods of GM ingredients will also be carried out. This step is crucial as the ability to establish threshold labelling levels hinges on this.
The regulatory framework will also cover pre-market approval, which encompasses food safety assessment. The assessment includes analysing the difference in chemical properties of GM food and the host, as well as the potential for allergenicity and toxicity. The proposed food labelling regulation is under the Food Act 1983 and Food Regulations 1985.
Source: Malaysia Biotechnology Information Centre http://www.bic.org.my
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