Food Safety Regulations Amended for Geographical Indication Requirements for Pork and Beef Imports

Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare ("MHW") announced on August 31, 2020 the new regulations under the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation regarding geographical indications of the origins of meats, including beef, pork, chicken, and lamb which estimated to be enforced on January 1, 2021.  Under the new regulations, the origins of beef or edible parts of cows must be clearly indicated when these meats are placed on the market. This measure was introduced to allow the import of pork containing ractopamine and beef products from cattle aged over 30 months from the U.S.
MHW emphasized that wrongful or misleading indications could lead to the imposition of monetary sanctions ranging from NTD 40,000 to NTD 4,000,000 according to Article 45 of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation.
The new regulations were passed in response to lawmakers of Taiwan's opposition political parties demands that the Taiwan Government establish standards on permitted amounts of ractopamine residue in imported pork from the U.S. These regulations not only affect importers, but, also retailers as well, and according to MHW, additional legislation for food safety will be enacted in the upcoming months. 
Legislative committees will need to review the aforementioned policy for meat imports from the U.S. However, with respect to health concerns, the MHW has set the standard which stipulates that pork muscle, skin, and fat products may have 0.01 parts per million (ppm) of ractopamine, while pork liver and kidney products may contain up to 0.04ppm. In addition, other parts, such as hog maws, intestines, hearts, tongues, brains, and blood, may contain 0.01ppm of the additive.
The Ministry of Education ("MOE") announced that according to the School Health Act, lunches provided in elementary and junior high schools must use domestic rather than imported pork and beef.
At present, different Government agencies and their policies have not adopted a unified attitude regarding the application of new legislative standards. In the future, the food industry and importers will need to be careful with their interpretations of legal standards in order to avoid accidentally violating the law in their import operations and management.
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