FDA backpedals on labeling of products containing pork fat

Taipei,  Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is revising its regulations on the labeling of products with pork fat ingredients, mandating that they must carry a label showing the country of origin, according to a draft published Thursday.

The new draft guidelines are a revision of the FDA’s controversial proposal Sept. 7 that said only pure pork fat would require the country of origin label and that other products containing pork fat would be exempt.

After the Sept. 7 proposal was released, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who oversees the FDA, pushed back against it, saying the government was “moving in the direction of having to label” the origin of all pork fat products.

In the revised draft guidelines released Thursday, Chen’s stance seemed to have prevailed, as the FDA said all packaged food products containing pork or beef, excluding beef fat, must be labeled with the country of origin.

The FDA guidelines were issued in a follow-up to President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement on Aug. 28 that Taiwan would set maximum residue limits for the livestock drug ractopamine in imported pork and open its market to American beef from cattle over 30 months old, with effect from Jan. 1, 2021.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said Thursday that his ministry is planning to add country of origin labeling to its Campus Food Ingredients Registration Platform, a website that allows parents to monitor the daily content and nutritional information of school meals.

Currently, Taiwan’s School Health Act states that schools “shall give priority to” local agricultural products. When the new import policy was announced, the Ministry of Education (MOE) sent a directive to schools to serve only domestic meat products.

According to Pan, the ministry is now working on a “school lunch contract” that would allow penalties against schools found serving imported meat.

While the government’s oversight of primary and secondary school meals is relatively straightforward, the situation with universities is somewhat more complicated, as the restaurants and cafeterias on many university campuses are privately contracted, Pan said.

In view of that situation, the MOE will focus on enforcing country of origin labeling of food sold on university campuses, he said.

 

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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