SAFEGUARDS | Food NO. 142/15

SafeGuardS rapeseed oil

The Taiwan (China) Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) has amended three GMO labeling regulations, for prepackaged foods, food additives and unpackaged foods. The regulation of prepackaged food and food additives will enter into force on 31 December 2015. For unpackaged foods, the requirement will be implemented in three phases starting 1 July 2015 and completing 31 December 2015, depending on the type of manufacture.

In recent years, scientists have succeeded in integrating foreign DNA sequences from different organisms within plants using molecular biology techniques. These genetically modified organisms, called GMOs, can synthesize additional proteins to improve their properties. Genetic modified (GM) foods are widespread, including soybean, maize, cotton, and rapeseed (canola). Today, there is increasing concern about the safety of human food because of the potential for GM foods to lead to allergenicity and toxicity. As a result, many countries are considering regulating the trade in GM foods through labeling and traceability requirements.

Taiwanese people consume a large quantity of food crops imported from the United States. About 95% of these imports are GM soybeans and GM corn. In response to urging from legislators and consumers, the government has established a regulation for GM labeling, to ensure that consumers are well informed about what they are eating.  Since 2014, packaged foods have been labeled if the GM content exceeds 3%. However, this regulation does not cover all food ingredients.  To amend the regulation, the Taiwan (China) Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) has extended the scope from packaged foods, to all prepackaged foods, food additives, and unpackaged foods. The new requirements for GMO labeling on food products are shown below [1], [2], [3].

  • Food or food additives that use GMOs directly during the manufacturing process yet, the final product does not contain transgenic DNA fragment or transgenic proteins shall display one of the following phrases:
    • "genetically-modified”, "with genetic modification”, or “used genetically modified (organisms)”
    • "this product is made of genetically modified (organisms), but does not contain any transgenic DNA fragment or transgenic proteins”
    • "this product does not contain any transgenic DNA fragment or transgenic proteins, but is made of genetically modified (organism)", or "this product does not contain any transgenic DNA fragment or transgenic proteins, but genetically modified (organisms)"
  • Food containing non-GMO can be labeled “non-genetically modified” or “with non-genetic modification” only under the circumstance that internal approvals exist for the corresponding GMOs to be cultivated or used as raw materials for foods.
  • The above mentioned phrases shall be expressed on the label after the name of the product and ingredients in principle, or in other obvious location of container or packaging. They shall make a clear distinction from other words and phrases existing on the package. The length and the width of font shall not be less than 2 mm.  Labeling of “non-genetically modified” is not stipulated.

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Amornpun Dajsiripun
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