The Indonesian National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM) has put its rules and standards on microorganism manufacturing into law, introducing a regulation on how types of microorganisms can be used in processed food. In it, it has stipulated the conditions for adding probiotics to food and beverage products.
Ratified into law on 7 February, the new regulatory requirement specifies how Indonesian manufacturers handle the presence of microorganisms such as probiotics in their food and beverage product development, which include popular items like yoghurts and kombucha.
The new microorganism regulation
The regulation sets out that the microorganisms listed can be included in manufacturing all processed foods other than those for special nutritional processes. Food for special medical and nutritional needs will be managed under different quality and safety parameters.
The new legal standard sets out 16 types of probiotics that can be added to ordinary food, including Bacillus coagulans, Bifidobacterium animalis, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus acidophilus lactis, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Leuconostoc citreum, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus.
The regulation states a minimum total number of microorganisms that must be included in a food and beverage product as 1 x 106 CFU/g or CFU/ml by the end of the product's shelf life.
Manufacturers that have developed processed food and have obtained the necessary distribution permit before the regulation must comply with new provisions within 30 months after the enforcement, which puts the end of this implementation period in Q3 2025.
Making an impact on the alternative protein market?
Dr Wasamon Nutakul, science and technology manager at the Good Food Institute Asia-Pacific (GFI APAC), Asia's leading alternative protein think tank, recently reviewed Indonesia's new microorganism content standards.
"From Dr Nutakul's review of this new policy, it appears to apply to packaged fermented foods – specifically those with probiotic claims – but does not have a meaningful impact on the alternative protein sector," Ryan Huling, senior communications manager at GFI APAC, told Vitafoods Insights.
"If fermentation-derived proteins or ingredients used in alternative proteins were to become a concern, we expect that this could be resolved through conversations with government officials," Huling adds.
Asia becomes a microorganism hub
Acknowledging recent research into the benefits and potential of microbial presence in food has led manufacturers to focus on novel ingredient choices to capture local markets. Indonesia has seen tempeh, a fermented soybean product from Indonesia, reach global consumer consciousness.
Strengthening standards and strictness within the Asian food market has grown in recent years. As demand for probiotic and prebiotic products grows, regulatory and market intelligence company Chemlinked has found an increasing number of probiotic foods and health supplements entering the ASEAN region. Today, China has scaled to become the second-largest probiotic market globally, with Japan and South Korea also growing into popular markets in Asia-Pacific.
However, despite the region's growth, while China has issued a series of relevant laws and regulations to promote and govern market development, some improvements are still needed regarding China's probiotic laws and regulations, Chemlinked highlights.
Subsequently, agencies are focusing on creating regulations and guidelines, such as the biotic regulation in Indonesia to manage the manufacturing, marketing, and sales of probiotic supplements and functional foods.