False nutrition labelling and claims are more common than you thought. Nowadays, customers are more health-conscious than ever.
So, irresponsible food manufacturers use false or misleading nutrition labelling and claims to convince customers into buying their heavily processed and unhealthy products. Unfortunately, there are still consumers who fall for these tricks.
Laws and Regulations that Protect the Consumers
These laws and regulations are a set of rules that manufacturers have to comply with in order to market their products.
The main objective is to ensure that the public is protected from health hazards and fraud in the preparation, sale, and use of food.
As per the Food Regulations 1985, proper nutrition labelling must include the total energy and nutrient content (energy, protein, carbohydrate, fat, and total sugars).
The regulations also outline the types of claims that are permitted as well as the ones that are prohibited.
Nonetheless, providing false and misleading labelling of a food product is a serious offence (under Section 17 of the Food Act 1983). Any person who fails to comply can be fined RM10,000 or a jail term not exceeding two years.
Suggested read: How to Get Nutrition Facts for My Product in Malaysia
False Nutrition Labelling and Claims
Malaysia has had many cases of false labelling and nutrition claims. In 2019, there was a case involving a popular banana milk product that over-claimed the nutritional benefits of the drink.
The drink claimed to be able to alleviate certain health conditions. The Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) responds to it with:
Statements such as helping to lower blood pressure, helping to remove toxins from the body, increasing metabolism, helping to control insulin production, able to reduce obesity and so on are prohibited on food product labels and advertisements.
As per sub-regulation 18(6) of the Food Regulations 1985, food labels should not contain health claims such as preventing, reducing, treating, and curing any disease.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Consumer Rights?
Nevertheless, some manufacturers still manage to find a way to trick consumers. But as a consumer, you have to protect your rights. So, if you ever come across false labelling and claims, you can make reports through proper channels.
Providing false nutrition labelling and claims is a criminal offence which means you can report it to the police.
So, to lodge a report, you just have to go to the nearest police station. Then, the police will work with relevant government bodies to investigate the case such as MOH.
Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP)
You can make complaints about any products and services that you find unsatisfactory to KPDNHEP.
Additionally, you can make complaints either through telephone, website, letters, or walk-in to Consumer Complaint Management Centre (CCMC).
Once they received your complaint, it will be channeled to the relevant agencies for further investigation.
Here are the details where you can leave your complaints and reports:
Ministry of Health (MOH)
You can also directly report to the Ministry of Health. You may lodge a complaint here or you may reach them through other means below:
- Website : www.moh.gov.my
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Phone : 03 – 8883 3888
- Address: Unit Komunikasi Korporat
Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia
Aras 4, Blok E7, Kompleks E
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan
To lodge a report in person, you can visit their corporate communications units or any health state department.
Be a Responsible and Ethical Food Manufacturer
False and misleading nutrition labelling and claims are irresponsible and unethical. While consumers should be more warned of false labelling and claims, manufacturers also have to be equally responsible when labelling their products.
Need more help and tips? You’re at the right place. Foodipedia is a platform that provides information about the food businesses in Malaysia and we can help you elevate your business to the next level.