Indonesia seeks to tighten import controls for processed food imports to enhance safety

INDONESIA – Imported processed foods will be subject to greater scrutiny before they are allowed into the Indonesian market once the new version of the country’s food and drug import law comes into effect.  

The 2021  food and import law introduces new trade controls on imported processed foods including a revised application process subject to government approval as well as stricter mandatory shelf-life requirements. 

Food firms looking to bring processed food items into Indonesia will now be required to obtain an approved Import Notification Letter (SKI)  from Indonesia’s National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM) before being allowed to import any processed foods into the country.  

In the previous 2017 version, processed foods were not specified as part of the import items list required to obtain a SKI for entry. 

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 “There are two types of SKI – the Border version for traditional medicines and drugs or the Post Border version for other items such as health supplements, cosmetics and food – firms importing processed foods would need to apply for the SKI Post Border,” stated BPOM via a formal statement.  

BPOM further noted that under the new law only processed food items with the necessary sales and distribution permits will be allowed into Indonesia for circulation.  

The new regulations also specify shelf-life requirements for imported processed foods, likely to avoid product dumping or soon-to-expire items from entering to the country.

This aimed at preventing such foods from reaching lower socio-economic households that might purchase these at lower prices, unaware of the food safety risks. 

“There are certain processed foods which can be exempted from this requirement if, in accordance with the rules and regulations governing it, it does not have a specific expiry limit [but is still deemed to be in accordance with food safety requirements].”  

BPOM is also encouraging all food firm applicants to go digital by registering via Indonesia’s National Single Window website, which is part of the nation’s attempt to ‘debureaucratise’ its governmental operations and increase transparency.

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Indonesia is not the only country as of late to attempt the imposition of stricter controls over imports.  

Earlier this year, China also launched its own mandatory overseas food manufacturer registration platform to ‘strengthen management’ over imported food products manufactured overseas.  

Announced by the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC), the new regulations will come into effect on January 1, 2022. 

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