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Taiwan: Foodstuffs More Tightly Regulated

(July 2, 2008) Amendments to Taiwan's Food Sanitation Management Law were promulgated on June 11, 2008. Among other measures, the revisions:

• provide a definition of “special nutritional supplement, ” in addition to the definition of “foodstuff” found in article 2 of the Law;

• stipulate that persons who enter Taiwan bearing foreign foods or food additives designated by the central competent authority (the Department of Health) (DOH) as likely to cause harm to human health are to declare the foodstuff and present a certificate for it issued by the health authority of the country of origin. The authority may publicly announce a ban prohibiting travelers from bringing a foodstuff into Taiwan's territory if it poses a serious threat to the human body or health (new art. 14-1);

• provide that the DOH may restrict the sites and methods for sale of specially designated foods in bulk or demand that particulars such as the country of origin be labeled in Chinese (new art. 17-1);

• specify that the DOH may publicize restrictions on the scope, methods, and sites of advertisements for special nutritional supplements (art. 19, new para. 3); and

• alter the penalties for various violations of the law (arts. 29, 31, 32, 33, and 36).

(Amendment to the Food Sanitation Management Law 6805 THE GAZETTE OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT 4-11 (June 11, 2008), available at

It may be noted that packaged eggs are not covered by the Food Sanitation Management Law. The Taiwan Consumers' Foundation, in a survey of 25 brands of eggs, found in a majority of cases that product information was not clearly stated; it also pointed out that “no real” organic eggs are on the local market. On May 3, 2008, it called upon the government to place eggs under the regulation of the Health Food Control Act. The failure to identify the eggs' nutritional contents, according to Foundation Chairman Chen Jen-hung, was “partly because the Food Sanitation and Management Law does not include packaged eggs as packaged food, thus freeing companies from labeling the ingredients,” whereas the “Health Food Control Act bans product information that misleads consumers.” (Foundation Calls for Regulation on Eggs Sold in Markets, TAIPEI TIMES, May 3, 2008, available at