The Department of Health has outlined regulations that would require the makers and importers of food products to establish comprehensive plans for recycling or destroying goods that could pose a health threat or are deemed substandard.
The move came after it was discovered that more companies were involved in a scandal in which expired food was been sold to bargain stores and street vendors at low prices.
The regulations were proposed to replace the existing guidelines that were put into practice in 2000, Tsai Shu-chen (蔡淑貞), a division chief at the department’s Food and Drug Administration, said yesterday.
The proposed regulations contain more detailed and concrete rules for recycling and disposal procedures. This includes the requirement that the relevant producers, importers and retailers prepare recycling and disposal plans and inform authorities in writing should they recycle or dispose of any products, regardless of whether this is of their own volition or upon instruction by authorities, she said.
Under the planned regulations, she added, any disposal plan will have to gain prior approval by local government authorities out of concern for environmental protections.
The companies will also be required to regularly report their recycling and destruction processes to the authorities, she added, adding that violators will face fines ranging from NT$30,000 to NT$150,000, while severe violators could be punished with the cancellation of their business or factory registration certificates.
Tsai said although foodstuff companies are currently required to establish an expired product recycling and disposal mechanism, there are no concrete rules detailing the procedures and punishments.
Food and Drug Administration Director-General Kang Jaw-jou said the new regulations would give local governments and health departments greater power to supervise the recycling and disposal of problematic foodstuffs.
The new regulations are expected to take effect next month.