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Beefing up Food Safety

New food-safety regulations came into effect in Taiwan last June. The seven directives, as set out by the island’s Food and Drug Administration, a department of the Taiwan Ministry of Health and Welfare, sets new limits on certain ingredients and labelling requirements:

1. Maximum Limits and Labelling Requirements for Potassium Iodide and Potassium Iodate Additives in Table Salt
The maximum limit has been raised for the level of nutritional additives of potassium iodide and potassium iodate in table salt. All table salt packaging should display the name of the product, any relevant warning and the statutory nutritional labelling, whether or not the product contains any such additives.

2. Product Name Labelling for Pre-packaged Cream, Butter Fat, Margarine and Spreadable Fats
The specific fat content of products labelled as cream or fresh cream, butter fat, edible shea butter, fresh shea butter, margarine or spreadable fat must comply with the required standard.

3. Product Name Labelling on Pre-packaged Creamer Products
Products labelled as creamers, but do not contain milk powder, milk or with milk content below 50 per cent, must be labelled accordingly.

4. Labelling on Food Sold Via Vending Machines
Food sold through vending machines (including packaged food, loose items or food prepared within a vending machine) should be labelled with the name of the company operating the vending machine, providing the content, origin and a list of potential allergens. Details of any reconstituted meat or genetically modified content should also be recorded.

5. Labelling of Food Utensils, Food Containers and Packaging
Any surfaces containing plastics that are likely to be in contact with food must be labelled in accordance with Article 26 of the Law on Food Safety. Consumers must be informed about whether a particular product is suitable for food contact and whether it is intended for multiple or one-off use. Clear reminders as to the necessary precautions when using these products should also be provided.

6. Product Liability Insurance Coverage for Food Business Operators
The range of business operators obliged to have product liability insurance coverage has been extended to include any food business operator in possession of a factory registration but no corporate or business registration.

7. Food Traceability System Now Obligatory in Three Additional Food Businesses Categories
Edible vinegar, egg products and babyfood businesses are now all required to put in place food traceability systems.

In additional moves, a fine of not less than NT$30,000 (US$993) and not more than NT$3 million (US$99,370) may be imposed on food business operators in the following circumstances: failure to comply with standards regarding the scope, limits and specifications of food additive usage; failure to comply with relevant food labelling regulations; and failure to implement the required product liability insurance.

The same penalties can also be imposed on any foodbusiness operator proven to be managing a traceability system on the basis of false information, as well as on any foodbusiness operator that fails to establish a traceability system within the required time frame.

Additionally, any foodbusiness operators whose products are found to carry false/misleading labelling may be fined a sum of not less than NT$40,000 (US$1,323) and not more than NT$4 million (US$132,494). Any products circulated without the required labelling will face a statutory recall and may not be offered for sale until the appropriate labelling is in place.

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Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council
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