Malaysia: Food Act 1983 & Food Regulations 1985

  • General Information

Malaysia’s diverse culture combined with the richness of tropical and agriculture produce enrich the food industry.  In parallel with the development of the world’s food industry, the Malaysian people have gain awareness in the food’s nutritional value and safety. On 1st July 2010, the Food Safety and Quality Division (BKKM), Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) was established as to strengthen the activities to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate food safety and quality as to protect public against health hazards and fraud in the storage, preparation, processing, packaging, transportation, sale and consumption of food, as well as facilitating food trade [1]. Other responsibilities of BKKM are to:

  1. Ensure the preparation, sale and storage of all food is clean and safe and in compliance with the Food Act 1983 and Food Regulations 1985 and the Food Hygiene Regulations 2009;
  2. Ensure that all food sold is:
    1. Free from pollution and food additives that are not needed and intended fraud;
    2. Comply with the regulations and laws that set, and
    3. Labeled and advertised enough and give a true picture of the content of the food.
  3. Ensure all food imported into this country is safe and comply with the Food Act 1983 and Food Regulations 1985;
  4. Ensure food exported by these countries to comply with legislation that required by the importing country and comply with Food Regulations (Production Health Certificate for Export of Fish and Fish Products to the European Union) in 2009 for the export of fish and fish products to the EU market, and
  5. Ensure that the public receives accurate information about food safety and food hygiene [1].

Earlier, the enforcement of safety and quality of the food is conducted under the Sale of Food and Drugs Act 1952 [1] [2]. However as the development of food production and marketing, the Act, together with Public Health Ordinance of Sabah and Public Health Ordinance of Sarawak are repealed to the extent that they relate to food [2]. Later, the Food Act 1983 and Food Regulations 1985 came into force starting on 1st October 1985 [3].

On 10 March 1983, the Food Act 1983 (enacted as Laws of Malaysia - Act 281) was published and republished after several amendments made by Act A1117 and Act A1266 on 28th September 2001 and 30th June 2006 respectively. This Act aims to protect the public against health hazards and fraud in the preparation, sale and use of food, and for matters incidental thereto or connected therewith. MOH is the governmental body which is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the food law in Malaysia including the appointments of the analysts, authorized officers and public officers for the purpose of this Act. The authorized officers may be conferred the power to obtain particulars of certain food ingredients and may order food premises or appliances to be put into hygienic and sanitary condition. This Act also stated the offences which involve food containing substances injuries to health, food unfit for human consumption and adulterated food; prepare, packages, labels and advertises any food which do not comply with the standard, therefore by notice in writing, the persons need to remove of food, prohibited against sales and/or conviction to imprisonment [2].

As companion document to the Act, the Food Regulations 1985 was gazette on 26 September 1985 to cover the importation of foods into Malaysia by ensuring that the food is safe for human consumption [3]. Like the Act, these regulations shall be applied throughout Malaysia; but not applicable to any food prepared, produced or packaged for export outside Malaysia [2] [4]. On 19th March 2010, the Food Regulations was issuance of health certificate for export of fish and fish product to the EU [2]. Briefly, these regulations covers: (I) Preliminary, (II) Warranty, (IIA) Approval for sale of food obtained through modern biotechnology; (III) Procedure for taking samples, (IV) Labeling, (V) Food Additive & Nutrient Supplement, (VI) Packages for Food, (VII) Incidental Constituent, (VIII) Standards & Particular Labeling Requirements for a range of food products, (IX) Use of Water, Ice or Steam, and (X) Miscellaneous [4]. However until 2012 several amendments of regulations have been made including the insertion of new regulations which are:

  1. Food (Amendment) (No.3) Regulations – 27th August 2012
    New regulation 91B “Formulated milk powder for children”; new regulation 360C “Vended Water” [5];
  2. Food (Amendment) Regulations – 27th January 2012
    Inserting after regulations 27 “Prohibited Feeding Bottle”; new regulation 178A “Edible Bird’s Nest and Edible Bird’s Nest Product” [6];
  3. and others which cited from Asian Food Regulation Information Service [7] .

The information on general requirements and standards for food and agricultural imports into Malaysia also summarise at SPRING Singapore Database [8].

  • Contact Details 

Food Safety And Quality Division
Ministry of Health Malaysia
Level 3, Block E7, Parcel E,
Federal Government Administrative Centre,
62590 Putrajaya, Malaysia.
Tel: +603-8883 3558 Fax: +603-8889 3815/3341


  1. Food Safety and Quality Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia. About BKKM. Last accessed on 11 March 2013 at
  2. The Attorney Generals’s Chamber of Malaysia. Food Act 1983. Last accessed on 11 March 2013 at
  3. Food safety overview. Last accessed on 11 March 2013 at
  4. Food Safety Information system of Malaysia. Food regulations 1985. Last accessed on 12 March 2013 at
  5. The Attorney Generals’s Chamber of Malaysia. Food (Amendment) (No.3) Regulations 2012. Last accessed on 13 March 2013 at 
  6. The Attorney Generals’s Chamber of Malaysia. Food (Amendment) Regulations 2012. Last accessed on 13 March 2013 at
  7. Asian Food Regulation Information Service. Asia-Malaysia. Last accessed on 13 March 2013 at 
  8. SPRING Singapore. Malaysia Food Import Regulations & Standard Database. Last accessed on 12 March 2013 at