Tue, Feb 25, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Ministry releases amended rules for food industry

PLAYING BY THE RULES:Setting a percentage of technicians required in a business and labels marking ‘chilled’ or ‘frozen’ meats are some of the amendments

By Alison Hsiao and Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporters

The Ministry of Health and Welfare yesterday released new regulations on food sanitation and safety control for food businesses.

Under the newly amended Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation Act (食品安全衛生管理法) all food businesses must employ a certain percentage of professionals with vocational or technical certification in areas including food, nutrition and catering.

Each business will have to hire at least one person with appropriate accreditation for the management and supervision of food safety, FDA official Cheng Wei-chi (鄭維智) said.

Other businesses requiring a certain percentage of workers with certifications are restaurants and bakeries of certain types and scales, as designated by the health authority.

Violations would be subject to a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$3 million (US$988 and US$98,800).

Regulations were also announced for the placement, duty, execution of business and management of professionals in the areas of seafood, meat processing, milk products and food containers.

The ministry said it has been working on supporting measures to encourage the entry of food professionals and technicians into the industry. One of them is to increase the number of annual national exams for food technicians.

According to the governmental statistics, a total of 1520 food technicians nationwide gained accreditation between 1990 and last year, a number that Cheng said is satisfactory for the above-mentioned four industries.

Meanwhile, the Council of Agriculture yesterday announced that chicken meat distributors are required to label their meat as either “chilled” or “defrosted” starting next month.

From March 1, distributors who fail to comply, or who mix the two types of meat together, would face a fine of between NT$60,000 and NT$1.5 million, the council’s Animal Husbandry Department said.

Since Taiwan joined the WTO, most of its imported chicken meat in markets is frozen and most of the domestic chicken is chilled, the department said.

However, the lack of clear labeling to distinguish between chilled and frozen meat has resulted in some frozen meat being defrosted and sold as chilled meat, or some meat being repeatedly frozen and defrosted — which risks not only damaging the quality of the meat, but also people’s health — it said.

The council said that frozen meat is kept at about minus-18?C and sold at room temperature or on refrigerated shelves, whereas chilled meat is kept at between minus-2?C and 7?C, so the two types of meat should be labelled and kept separately.

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