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    House of Representatives: Rules for Product Advertising Can't Be Discriminatory

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    JAKARTA - The plan of Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) revised the label rules and advertisements for food products, especially sweetened condensed milk (SKM), received attention from the Commission VI of the House of Representatives (DPR).

    The Commission in charge of agriculture, food and business competition saw the revision of the rules regarding advertising because a certain product was an inappropriate step. Supposedly, a policy is made or revised on the overall industrial conditions, not for a particular product.

    "aren't they (BPOM) want to kill certain products. Because syrup is sweet too, even more sweeteners than the composition of milk, "said Azam Azman Natawijaya, Deputy Chair of the House Commission VI, on Thursday (08/30/2018).

    Previously BPOM had issued a circular regarding the label and advertisement for sweetened condensed milk in May 2018. In that, BPOM gave a number of restrictions on the advertisement for sweetened condensed milk products, including the prohibition on displaying children under five years old, prohibiting the use of visualization of images of liquid milk or milk in a glass and a banned on showing ads on children's showtime.

    In addition, SKM producers have also labeled the composition of their products to be known by consumers. "This actually returns to the choice of the consumer. Look at cigarette advertisements, even though they are given creepy skull images, consumers still buy it, "he said.

    Azam actually suggested that BPOM will more regulate on formaldehyde products that currently still massive on the market and more dangerous. "Why it's (formaldehyde) not regulated. So don't let BPOM accommodate the interests of some producers who are less competitive, "he said.

    Therefore, Azam said that it 's not imposible for the House of Representatives, especially the related commissions, to ask for clarification of the BPOM related to the planned revision of the food label and advertisement rules. This is necessary to restrain a polemic arises based on suspicions of an indication of a trade war in the process of it.

    Previously Inas Nasrullah Zubir, Member of Commission VI also asked the BPOM and the government to be wiser to see polemics regarding this sweetened condensed milk. According to him, the rule's change must based on studies and data that can be responsible scientifically.

    He also reminded the BPOM not to be stuck issuing an unfair regulation. "the government doesn't adjust the producers necessary, but must adjust what is best for consumers," he said.

    He also saw that the issuance of BPOM's circulation impressed to be forced only because of the high pressure from several parties. Moreover, the highly sensitive and crucial circular letter was issued or signed by a deputy who was approaching retirement. "It is forbid, we will try it later," said the Chairman of the Hanura Faction in the DPR.

    Handito Joewono, Marketing Observer and Chief Executive Officer of Arrbey Consulting Indonesia, a business and marketing consulting firm, revealed that the rules related to product advertising shouldn't be too restrictive. This will affect the company's creativity in informing their prominence products to consumers so their marketing cannot run optimally.

    "Creativity in advertising shouldn't be limited, because each product has a different marketing strategy," Handito said.

    In issuing regulations related to the marketing of certain products, BPOM should provide flexibility to the company for inform their products. it will determine the success of marketing. Thus, the existing rules can encourage business growth in the country and drive the national economy.

    Specially sweetened condensed milk is one of the main products of various kinds of milk derivative  itself. It written in the Head of BPOM Regulation Number 21 of 2016 and the Regulation of the Head of BPOM on Food Category 01.3.

    Sweetened condensed milk products themselves have been circulating in Indonesia since the country is not yet independent. Data from the Ministry of Industry shows that the production capacity of sweetened condensed milk in the country reaches 812,000 tons per year. This industry is able to absorb as many as 6,652 workers with an investment value of Rp 5.4 trillion. (Pun)

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