Amended food act to enforce detailed labeling of juices

Staff writer, with CNA

Thu, Jun 06, 2013 - Page 4

All the nation’s packaged fruit and vegetable juices, as well as juice-flavored beverages, must carry labeling that clearly details their contents from July 1, 2015, an official responsible for food safety affairs at the Department of Health said.

Under the newly revised Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法), the country’s labeling system has been further reinforced so that even juice-flavored beverages that do not contain juice at all, but bear the image of fruit on their outer packaging, must carry labeling that describes them as being free of fruit juice, said Feng Ren-lan (馮潤蘭), a deputy division chief at the Food and Drug Administration.

For example, lemon tea that contains no lemon juice, or orange soda that contains no orange juice, which are often marketed with images of lemons and oranges, must be labeled as “lemon juice-free” or “orange juice-free,” Feng said.

The amended act, which was approved by the legislature on Friday last week, stipulates that packaged fruit or vegetable juice that contains at least 10 percent of pure fruit or vegetable juice must carry labeling detailing the exact percentages of the juice ingredients.

Those containing less than 10 percent pure juice must be labeled as “containing less than 10 percent pure fruit or vegetable juice,” or carry labeling that details all the percentages of pure juice in the product. Products flavored to resemble fruit juice, but which contain no juice at all, must be labeled as “free of fruit juice.”

As to the specific terminology for fruit and vegetable juice, products named after a specific fruit or vegetable must contain at least 50 percent pure juice of the fruit or vegetable specified. Mixed fruit and vegetable juice must be clearly labeled as such, according to the revised act.

However, Feng said that fruit-flavored milk and yoghurt are categorized as dairy products and are not included in the labeling system for packaged drinks.

As for fruit-flavored beer such as pineapple and mango beer, they are listed as alcoholic drinks and fall under the management of the Ministry of Finance, not the Department of Health, the official added.

According to the amended act, businesses failing to properly label their juice products will face fines of up to NT$3 million (US$100,000), while those found adding non-approved food ingredients or toxic food additives to their juice products will be subject to fines of up to NT$15 million.