Sat, Jul 21, 2012 - Page 3 News List

DOH issues rules on product packaging

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Starting today, reusable plastic water bottles and cups, lunch boxes, containers used to preserve food, as well as feeding bottles, must display certain manufacturing information, the Department of Health (DOH) announced yesterday.

In line with the amended Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法), the DOH demanded that eight items of information — the product name, material, temperature resistance, country of origin, weight or size, manufacturer, date of manufacture and a caution notice — be labeled in a way that allows consumers to easily read them.

Cheng Wei-chih (鄭維智), an official with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said that in addition to the eight points required for package marking, information on the materials used and temperature resistance must be pressed into, or printed directly on the container itself.

The names of chemicals in the product material should be written in Chinese characters or general expressions, such as “PE”; the temperature resistance should be labeled in degrees Celsius, eg, 80° to 100°; and the caution notice should include important information such as whether it can be used in a microwave, the DOH said.

“We chose three types of products — reusable water bottles, lunch boxes and feeding bottles for the first phase of regulation because they are used more often in people’s daily lives,” Cheng said, adding that the next phase would include regulations on disposable tableware and utensils, scheduled to be enforced next year.

The DOH said products that do not meet the requirements during inspections by local health bureaus would be taken off shelves, and the companies involved would be asked to make corrections and would face a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000, starting today.

However, the requirements would only be enforced on plastic containers that are manufactured after today, Cheng added.

The FDA also urged consumers to pay attention to the information and usage instructions when purchasing plastic containers, to avoid long-term exposure to high-temperature food and to use neutral dishwashing liquid for cleaning to assure food safety.

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