Taipei, Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Tuesday that masks produced locally before Sept. 17 that are not embossed with “MD” and “MIT” can still be sold up to Dec. 17, a reversal of an announcement it made last week.
The agency said last week that it would require all locally made surgical face masks produced on or after Sept. 17 to be embossed with the acronyms “MD” (medical device) and “MIT” (made in Taiwan), in an attempt to prevent fraud.
Although the FDA said in the same announcement that from Sept. 17, masks without the imprints could not be sold without going through the recall and certification process, it reversed course on Tuesday, saying that masks produced locally before Sept. 17 that don’t have the imprints can be sold up to Dec. 17.
If the masks remain unsold by that time, they must be taken off store shelves and recalled by March 16, 2021, and certified by local health authorities before they can be sold again, the FDA said.
The rules regarding surgical masks produced on or after Sept. 17 remain unchanged from last week’s announcement, the FDA said.
According to the FDA website, the imprints must be located within 1.5 centimeters of the corner of a mask and must be at least 0.4 cm high.
The requirements do not apply to N95 masks, the FDA said.
Concerns about fraud among mask manufacturers stem from Sept. 3, when the FDA announced it had shut down the New Taipei company Carry Mask for importing over 3 million non-medical grade masks from China in August and selling them as government-rationed face masks.
Since then, other companies, including Haw Ping Co., have also been accused of falsely labeling imported masks as domestically made.
Under the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act, those who sell masks that fail to meet FDA requirements are subject to fines of between NT$30,000 (US$1,013) and NT$2 million.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel