New Food Safety Regulations in Taiwan: Chocolate Might Not Be Chocolate Anymore

New Food Safety Regulations in Taiwan: Chocolate Might Not Be Chocolate Anymore
Photo Credit: John Loo CC BY SA 2.0
What you need to know

A large variety of products are named as chocolate, but most of them consist of flavorings, food coloring and other chemical raw materials. Chocolatiers estimate that the cocoa percentage in most chocolate products in Taiwan accounts for less than 1%, meaning the majority of chocolate products need to change their names.

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The Food and Drug Administration under the Ministry of Health and Welfare is formulating new regulations regarding chocolate label management, saying that if the amount of cocoa in commercially available chocolate is less than 35%, the commodity cannot be named as chocolate.

Liberty Times reports, a large variety of products are named as chocolate, but most of them consist of flavorings, food coloring and other chemical raw materials. Chocolatiers estimate that the cocoa percentage in most chocolate products in Taiwan accounts for less than 1%, meaning the majority of chocolate products need to change their names.

Xue Fu-qin, an official of the Food and Drug Administration, says the new regulation will basically refer to Codex’s definition of chocolate. Products named chocolate but contains insufficient cocoa will be fined up to NT$ 400 million (approximately US$ 123,080) based on food safety laws.

Many chocolatiers of EU countries, including France, took to the streets to protest against the new label criteria back then. Now the Taiwanese government is to adopt similar standards with the EU, which has already raised a lot of complaints among the chocolate manufacturers.

Xu Zhao-kai, a member of the special committee of the Food and Drug Administration, points out that even if we reach a consensus of the definition of chocolate, the new regulations will only target plain chocolate and will not include ready-made or processed food, such as chocolate cakes and so on.

Xu says that the new regulations should take international trades into consideration because currently most chocolate products are imported. In general, a year of grace period will be given, so the regulation is estimated to be implemented by the second half of next year.

SETN reports, the academic field considers the intention of this reformation to be good, but the influence will be far-reaching, so the implementation should be assessed carefully.

Chen Zhao-yang, director general of the Confectionery, Biscuits and Floury Food Industry Association, says that the new regulations will involve industries worth more than NT$ 40 billion (approximately US$ 123 million), so the influence will be large. Yang Yong-fu, lecturer at the Ching Kuo Institute of Management and Health, believes the new implementation is to be in line with international standards and the industry will definitely go through some struggles.

Translated by June
Edited by Olivia Yang

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