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SAFEGUARDS | Food NO. 002/17

 SafeGuardS fruit and vegetables

On October 26, 2016, the Taiwan Food and Drugs Administration (TFDA) amended 14 pesticide MRLs in 85 food categories. In addition, five new food categories have been added into this amendment.  The amended MRLs entered into force immediately after publication.

Food safety is a problem of global concern, particularly in the improper application of pesticides, such as the overuse of pesticides on agricultural commodities and the harvesting of crops before the residues dissipate. The widespread use of pesticides can have serious impacts on human health, causing illnesses including cancer, neurological disease, and adverse reproductive effects. To minimize such problems, programs to monitor pesticide residues in foods are performed in many countries to ensure that consumers are not exposed to anything above the maximum residue levels (MRLs) established by the authorities.

In Taiwan, the use of pesticides by farmers has increased rapidly. The TFDA realized these issues and then first published “Standards for Pesticides Residue Limits in Foods” in October 2008, which included 372 pesticide MRLs in 22 food categories. At the same time, the TFDA developed their testing methods to determine 135 pesticides. The methods were expanded to cover 311 pesticides on July 3, 2014. An average of four pesticide regulations have been amended by TFDA each year. As the result of differing MRLs in each country and different limits to apply for local foods, MRL harmonization based on the scientific data is required in order to eliminate potential trade barriers.  Recently, the TFDA has revised MRLs for 14 pesticide compounds, such as Boscalid, Carbaryl, Chlorfenapyr, Chlorothalonil, Chlorpyrifos, Difenoconazole, Dinotefuran, Fluopicolide, Fluxapyroxad, Imazalil, Propamocarb hydrochloride, Pyraclostrobin, Spinetoram, and Spirotetramat in various foods [1], and also classified the local foods into their existing food categories. For example, Coix Seed is in the cereals & crops group, water lily and diplazium esculentum are in leafy vegetables with small leaves, and anoectochilus formossanus is in herbs & spices [2]. To analyze these residues, SGS Taiwan laboratories uses state-of-the-art high resolution instruments, such as liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), gas chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) and flame photometric detector (FPD).

What do the changes mean?

Taiwanese MRLs have the potential to affect agricultural producers and food manufacturers in third countries. Pesticide residues in, or on, food products destined for Taiwan must not exceed TFDA MRLs. For support in complying with the food safety regulation, producers should seek professional advice.

SGS is committed to keeping you informed of regulation 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 tests, audits, certifications, inspections, and technical support. We continually invest in our testing, capability, and state-of-the art technology to help you reduce risk, improve food safety and quality. For further more information, please visit our website: www.foodsafety.sgs.com.

For enquiries, please contact:

Jeremy Li
Food Technical Manager, SGS Taiwan
t: +88 6730 112121 ext 3200

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