The MFDS said it hoped to help the elderly – referring to adults who are above 65 years old – take in nutrients more conveniently through the new standards.
“The existing standards for elderly foods focus on [providing] easy to consume [options].
“However, with the newly added standards for elderly nutrition supplements, it is expected that this could help improve their nutrition status, increase the food choices available to the elderly, and could revitalise the specialised foods industry.”
Examples of supplements for the elderly will include milk formula and nutrition beverages.
Prior to this announcement, the MFDS has set up requirements for making foods that are easier to chew and swallow for the elderly, without emphasis on the nutritional aspects.
The MFDS has listed 19 nutrients that are required by the elderly, including high protein and energy to help them maintain physical strength and energy.
It said that the elderly especially required vitamin D, calcium, and essential fatty acids.
For example, the required amount of protein is set at 37 to 63 grams, vitamin D at 11 to 56 grams, and calcium at between 550mg to 1,100mg.
The MFDS added that 39.9 per cent of the elderly required nutrition management and 19.5 per cent needed to improve their nutrition management, citing a set of data published by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs in 2017.
In addition, the MFDS has developed standards for Foods for Special Medical Purposes (FSMPs) for cancer patients.
Under the FSMPs category, manufacturers are allowed to make nutrient supplements for cancer patients.
At present, there are already standards for supplements catered to general patients, and those suffering from diabetes, kidney disease, intestinal disease, and dysphagia.
“To help cancer patients during their treatment and recovery maintain and replenish physical strength and to recover quicker, we will set up a new set of manufacturing standards for FSMPs meant for cancer patients.”
On the other hand, the regulator has also established the category “dietary foods for cancer patients” – also part of the FSMPs framework.
These dietary foods must adhere to the same calories requirements for supplements designed for cancer patients. In addition, the sodium content per serving should be below 1,350mg.
“MFDS will continue to develop standards for FSMPs that are in demand, such as FSMPs for patients suffering from hypertension and electrolytes supplements, in order to provide FSMPs for patients suffering from different diseases,” it said.