Rules of Food Packaging and Labeling in Malaysia
- Your Product
- Quantity of food
- Nutrition facts
- Manufacturer / Importer
- Expiration date
- Bar code
Is it THAT important?
Regardless of what you sell, it is a responsibility to state your product’s information. For example, a PPE supplier in Malaysia such as safety shoes and protective gear must be certified by DOSH-SIRIM. Under the certification, the PPE must follow all the requirements set to prove its quality.
As a food producer, you should display all the required labels proposed in the Food Regulations 1985 by the Malaysian Ministry of Health. It’s not just for legal purposes, it also discloses your product’s ingredients, storage method and certification to your consumers.
Here is a helpful summary of the regulations to your food package. It is a must to acknowledge and follow these particulars when labeling pre-packaged food in Malaysia.
Illustrations on Food Packaging
Let’s get started to what your consumers notice first, pictures! The only pictures allowed on your packaging are its ingredients and a suggestion to how it should be served.
Not only that, your illustration must include the wording ‘Serving Suggestion’/’Recipe’. This is so the customer is informed of how it is supposed to be consumed.
- Font : Non Serif.
- Size : No smaller than 10 points.
- Color : Contrasting with background.
Logos on Food Packaging
Display your approved brand logo on the frontal cover of your package.
Does your food product have Halal, Buatan Malaysia, ISO Certification and/or any other certification valid in Malaysia? If yes, bear them on your food packaging with a reasonable size that your consumers can visibly see.
Head over to 5 Certified Logo should-haves in your food packaging design for more information on the logos to paste on food packages.
Another aspect that is vital to evidently display is your brand and product name. Without it, your consumers will have no idea what the package contains. In fact, it will affect their choice in buying your product.
Food producers must bear a verified brand logo on the packaging as a trademark for other products that you might have under you brand.
It should be obviously seen on your packaging so don’t go small on the design of your brand logo.
In addition to that, the name of your food product is also compulsory to place on the front cover. Usually, it is positioned under the brand logo so consumers gain a mental picture that your brand has this product.
As a result, they’re able to compare with other brands of the same product.
WORD OF CAUTION: It is forbidden to include any claims on your package that describe it as ‘compounded’, ‘medicated’, ‘tonic’, ‘health’ or any words of similar meaning. Another is ‘Nutritious’ or similar to it unless it fulfills ALL the following requirements.
- Contains a range of nutrients including Carbohydrates, Fat, Protein, Vitamin and Mineral.
- With Energy of more than 40 kcal per 100g or 20 kcal per 100ml.
- Has source of Protein not less than 5g per 100g or 2.5kg per 100ml.
- At least 4 vitamins of an amount that meets the criteria for source and 2 minerals (excluding sodium) of an amount that meets the criteria for source.
- The amount of Nutrients mentioned above is declared.
Quantity of Food
Regardless of your food product or packaging, it is mandatory to place the quantity of food either in net weight, volume or number of content.
The minimum drained weight should also be displayed if your food product is packed in liquid (eg: mixed fruits).
Ingredients on Food Packaging
State clearly all the contents (their common name) in the food packaging , specifically the back cover.
Moreover, the font size should be no less than 4 point lettering (very small packages are allowed to use no smaller than 2 point lettering), of a color that strongly contrasts with its background.
If your food product contains any beef, pork, lard or alcohol, it is compulsory to state so in the form ‘CONTAINS BEEF’. This is located below the name of the food in capital bold-faced lettering, non-serif character and no smaller than 6 point lettering.
Foods that contains ingredients that may cause hypersensitivity is must be stated. Such foods that have allergens include those containing gluten, nuts, fish, lactose and egg.
Nutrition Facts on Food Packaging
Nutrition labeling is not required if your food packaging has a total surface area of less than 100 cm².
The font size required for this section is no less than 4 point lettering and must follow the correct order of nutrients.
If the nutrient content follows the demands of the Food Regulations, claims such as ‘free’, ‘very low’, ‘low’, ‘source’ or ‘high’ can be used. However, it must be in the form ‘a low (nutrient) food’ or ‘a (nutrient)-free food’, never preceding the food name (eg: low fat chickpeas).
Be sure to refer to the Malaysian Food Regulations 1985 for a list of allowed claims of nutritional function to label your food packaging. The following list of food MUST include nutrition facts on their packaging.
- Prepared cereal food
- Selected milk and milk products
- Flour confections
- Canned meat
- Food with canned meat
- Fish in a can
- Vegetables in a can
- Canned fruit
- Fruit juices
- Salad dressing
- Soft drinks
- Beverage mix
For packed food, there are 2 requirements to follow. If said product is a product of Malaysia, the name and address of the manufacturer/packer/ owner of rights of the manufacture must be included.
As for imported food, the name and address of the manufacturer/ packer/ owner of rights of the manufacture, name and business address of the importer in Malaysia and the name of the country of origin of the food must be stated accordingly.
Expiration Date on Food Packaging
The expiration date is mandatory on all food packaging. It means the date after which the food may not retain the quality attributes normally expected by the consumer, under recommended storage conditions.
The date of expiry must be identifiable and intelligible by the consumers. The date is to be expressed in day, month and year. Another form is in month/year wherein the expiry date of minimum durability shall be by the end of the month.
Its font shall be in capital bold-faced lettering of a non-serif character not smaller than 6-points.
All retailed food products require a bar code so business is much more efficient.
Food products are individually marked to track and store information. Kind of like thumbprints but for food.
Even items that are manufactured by the millions can have its own ‘thumbprint’ which will better your inventory system.
You can generate bar codes by yourself through GS1’s website. They can also provide bar codes if you sell your food products online. However, there are a few regulations when bearing a bar code on the food packaging.
Short descriptions of the brand/food is non-compulsory but brands can do so if they please. Bearing in mind without stating anything that opposes the requirements of the Food Regulations.
This is more to a summary that brands feel indicates a sense of transparency and pride of their brand.
Instructions to Prepare Food
The label requires a direction of storage if the quality of the food is dependent on its storage.
Clearly state matters regarding temperature or instructions when opened for consumers to comprehend.
Cooking/Serving instructions are an optional requirement when labeling your food package.
If your food product needs additional ingredients or equipment before serving, for example, 3-in-1 drinks, pasta and cake mix.
Design a Certified Food Packaging with Us
Take a second look at your food package. Does it follow all the mandatory requirements the Food Regulations 1985 fixed? If you have all the information your food product must have, send it your way for us to design the whole food package! Don’t worry, we’ll follow all the rules.
Explore more: Food Labelling Guidelines in Malaysia