Sun, Mar 24, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Food safety amendments regulate processing aids

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

The Legislative Yuan on Friday passed amendments to the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法) that introduce a maximum fine of NT$3 million (US$97,384) for companies that illegally use processing aids.

The amended act defines processing aids as substances used in the preparation or processing of food products or materials that are not among the listed ingredients or materials in a product’s packaging.

Aids are not to interact with the food as it is being processed and must be removed before packaging, the amendments say.

Trace amounts of processing aids that are unable to be removed and are harmless are allowed, they say.

Prior to using or substituting processing aids, companies must submit to the Ministry of Health and Welfare for review the names of the processing aids, their specifications, the manufacturing process, amounts being used, methods for removal and recycling, safe levels of residue and health risk assessments, the amendments say.

Proprietors who fail to comply with the rules face would face a fine of NT$30,000 to NT$3 million, they say.

The amendments stipulate that companies that commit severe offenses face having their operations suspended, or their company or factory registrations revoked, with a year stand-down period to apply before re-registration is permitted.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Man-li (陳曼麗), who sponsored the amendments, said that the act previously lacked a clear distinction between food additives and processing aids, which was a loophole for unscrupulous food companies to profit at the cost of public health.

There are more than 700 processing aids used worldwide, but the nation only recognizes seven of them as safe for human, with the rest reviewed on a case-by-case basis, Chen said.

As long as food companies could invoke passages in the Codex Alimentarius or rules set by the EU or US Food and Drug Administration saying that a processing aid was allowed, the ministry would permit its use, but as eating habits vary greatly between Taiwanese and residents of other nations, the rules should not have been set in a one-size-fits-all manner, she said.

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