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Legislature passes food safety act revisions (update)
Central News Agency
2014-01-28 09:47 PM
Taipei, Jan. 28 (CNA) The Legislative Yuan on Tuesday passed its third reading for partial amendments to the Act Governing Food Sanitation increasing the punishment for adulteration, counterfeiting and use of food additives which are not approved by the central competent authority from a maximum of 3 years of imprisonment to 5 years.

The amendments also stipulate increasing the administrative fine imposed for false, exaggerating, or misleading labeling, promotion, or advertisement of food products or the like from a maximum amount of NT$200,000 (US$6,594) to NT$4,000,000.

Under the amended law, the maximum penalties for firms that adulterate food products goes up to NT$8 million and their owners could face maximum fines of NT$80 million.

In addition, the Ministry of Health and Welfare will be authorized to set up a food safety fund with the money sourced from fines for violators to compensate consumers or finance relevant class-action lawsuits. The revisions also cover regulations governing genetically modified (GM) foodstuffs, introducing examination and registration requirements for GM raw materials and a grace period of two years for meeting the requirements from the date the new law is promulgated.

Meanwhile, the amendments require companies using compound additives to file product registration with the competent authority by the end of this year. Foodstuff manufacturers are required to send raw ingredients, semi-finished and finished products to laboratories for tests. Companies violating the regulations will face a fine of NT$30,000-NT$3 million and risk having their licenses revoked.

In addition, the name of the law will be changed from the Act Governing Food Sanitation to the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation.

The amendments also require importers of GM foodstuffs and products to establish a tracer system.

After the revisions cleared the legislative floor, Deputy Health Minister Hsu Ming-neng said the new law will improve regulations on food product trade and food safety.

Yeh Ming-kung, deputy director general of the Ministry of Health and Welfare's Food and Drug Administration, said that the ministry will implement the new regulations with haste to better protect people's health. (By Tseng Ying-yu and Y.L. Kao)

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