The Thai Food and Drug Administration (Thai FDA) has recently amended its food product registration and controlling procedures to shorten its approval timelines, without compromising food quality or safety surveillance. This initiative has been dubbed the “Reprocessing Program.”

The Reprocessing Program’s shortened approval timelines are an important step forward for Thai registration processes. Historically, approval timelines have been unduly prolonged, as the Thai FDA has a substantial workload. This has delayed product registration with the Thai FDA—an essential step before importing and selling food products in Thailand.

Through the Reprocessing Program, food regulatory consultants who routinely register food products with the Thai FDA receive special training. They are then subject to examinations, and those who pass receive a certificate that allows them to obtain “fast-track” approval of their food registration applications. An application filed using the fast-track procedure will be approved within seven business days, as opposed to approximately 20 business days required for a regular application.

Reprocessing is currently focused on seven categories of food products, including fermented milk, cow’s milk, flavored milk, other milk products, ice cream, and food and beverages in a hermetically sealed container. These food categories were reclassified from “Specially Controlled Foods,” which require a rigorous evaluation from the FDA, to “Standardized Foods,” for which self-regulation is permitted.

Ruchanikorn Makayay and Siradapat Ratanakorn, food regulatory consultants at Tilleke & Gibbins, have authorized fast-track certificates for all seven of these food categories. By using the fast-track procedure, we were recently successful in obtaining a beverage product license within just three days for one of our clients.

The fast-track application is a promising new pathway for easier, faster, and smoother food registration in Thailand. Producers and importers of food products can benefit greatly by gaining timing advantages for food product registration by using the fast-track channel.

In addition to the fast-track application now available for Standardized Foods, labels for such products are now self-regulated.