Fri, Sep 24, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Department of Health to introduce new rules on labeling of cooking oil

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Department of Health (DOH) recently announced new regulations that would require manufacturers of cooking oil made from more than one type of vegetable to indicate on their product labels that the oil is “blended.”TRUTH IN PACKAGING

Many types of vegetable oils currently sold on the market are identified as “olive oil” or “sunflower oil,” but in actuality, the oils are mainly extracted from soybeans or canola, which are much cheaper, and only mixed with very little olive oil or other higher-priced oils.

To prevent consumers from being misled by inaccurate product names, the DOH has announced new regulations that will require makers of oils extracted from two or more types of vegetables to display prominent labeling on the front of the package that the oil is a mixed or blended oil.

The new regulations also require that the product must contain at least 50 percent of one type of oil to be able to carry the product name. For example, a product named “blended olive oil” must contain at least 50 percent olive oil.

The product name may contain up to two types of oils if the two types of oils each make up at least 30 percent of the blended oil, the DOH announcement states. For example, a product named “blended olive soybean oil” must contain at least 30 percent olive oil and at least 30 percent soybean oil, said Tsai Shu-chen (蔡淑真), section chief at the Food and Drug Administration.

ONE EXCEPTION

The only exception to the rule is peanut oil, which health officials say retains its original flavor even after being blended with other types of oils. However, if the peanut oil is blended with other oils, the product name must still indicate that the oil is not pure, but blended.

Firms found to be in violation of the new rule, which will come into effect in March next year, will face fines of between NT$40,000 and NT$120,000, the DOH said.

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