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Taiwan Revises its Food Allergen Labeling Regulations

Photo: Soybean
Photo: Soybean

Some foods contain ingredients that can cause life-threatening allergic reactions. It is important that these food allergens be declared on the label, which can help customers make informed choices and avoid allergic incidents.

On August 21, 2018, the Taiwan Drug and Food Administration (TFDA) issued a new regulation governing food allergen labeling on packaged food, which comes into effect on July 1, 2020 [1]. The TFDA has reviewed allergen labeling regulations from other countries, and nationally clinical documented allergic cases, to expand the labeling list from the existing six allergens (shrimp, crabs, mango, peanuts, eggs and milk) to 11.

Three allergens, including mango, peanuts and milk, remain on the mandatory labeling list. Foods containing shrimps and crabs still require mandatory labeling, but the new regulation now includes food products including any crustaceans. The “milk” category, which previously related to cows’ milk alone, now also requires labeling for goats’ milk too.

Components which were previously listed for voluntary labeling must now be mandatorily declared. These include soy, gluten, sesame, sulfur dioxide (greater than 10ppm), fish and nuts. The new regulation has a different detailed list for the latter two components. Foods containing fish must be labeled, regardless of the species. Nuts including, but not limited to almond, hazelnut, walnut, cashew nut, pecan, brazil nut, pistachio nut, macadamia nut, pine nuts, chestnuts, require labeling.

Some changes have also been made to the voluntary labeling recommendations. Newly added components, such as sunflower and watermelon seeds can be voluntarily labeled, while kiwi fruit containing foods remain on the voluntary labelling list.

While a chemical-based method is used for testing for the presence of sulfur dioxide, all other allergens are widely tested using protein-based method such as ELISA and DNA-based method such as real-time PCR. SGS’s food chemistry and molecular biology testing labs offer these tests. Our state-of-art Next Generation Sequencing technology also has great capacity to test allergens in order to comply with different regulations worldwide.

SGS is committed to keeping you informed of regulatory news and developments. Leveraging our global network of laboratories and food experts, SGS provides a comprehensive range of food safety and quality solutions including analytical testing, audits, certifications, inspections and technical support. We continually invest in our world class testing capabilities and state-of-the-art technology to help you reduce risks, and improve food safety and quality. For further information please visit our website www.foodsafety.sgs.com.

Email SGS Hong Kong Ltd. at mktg@sgs.com for enquiry or visit www.sgsgroup.com.

Content provided by SGS Hong Kong Limited
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