ASLI Working Paper Series

Publication Title Food and Consumer Protection: A Study on Food Legislation of Selected Countries
Publisher Asian Law Institute
Series WPS017
Publication Date Jan 2011
Author/Speaker Rahmah Ismail
Safe food is fundamental to all consumers. Getting safe food is the right of every consumer as recognised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1992. Although the proverb ‘You are what you eat’ implies that consumers must be responsible for what they eat, consumers alone are not able to ensure that what they eat is safe. Legislation is needed to ensure that food supplied to consumers meets safety standards. Comprehensive legal provisions are needed to protect consumers from risks associated with food due to the fact that there is a serious health risks relationship between food intake and illness. To overcome problems associated with unsafe food, most of the ASEAN countries have enacted their own legislation. Malaysia, for example has the Food Act 1983 and Food Regulations 1985 to protect Malaysian consumers from unsafe food. Singapore has the Sale of Food Act and Food Regulations to secure the wholesomeness and purity of food and to fix standards for food. Indonesia has Act No 7 of 1996 on Food to ensure safe food is supplied to the consumers and Thailand has the Food Act 1979 to handle unsafe food. This paper focuses on the legislation in these jurisdictions, analysing the way in which consumers are protected from unsafe food. These countries have been chosen because the writer would like to see how both the common law countries (Malaysia and Singapore) and the civil law countries (Indonesia and Thailand) protect consumers from unsafe food.
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