Taiwan's FDA to ban three food additives from 2024

08/04/2020 09:37 PM
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Pixabay image for illustrative purposes only
Pixabay image for illustrative purposes only

Taipei, Aug. 4 (CNA) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Tuesday it plans to ban three synthetic flavoring substances, projected to take effect in 2024, over growing concerns at their carcinogenic potential.

Before that, the FDA said it will first amend the Standards for Specification, Scope, Application and Limitation of Food Additives to further regulate the use of styrene, eugenyl methyl ether and pyridine.

The policy change was made at a meeting of experts and taken in response to an upcoming ban on six synthetic flavoring substances to be issued by the United States FDA in October that includes the three aforementioned chemicals.

In recent years, animal tests by U.S. consumer groups have demonstrated that high doses of the six flavorings in cookies, drinks and sauces are carcinogenic, FDA Food Safety Section head Liao Chia-ding (廖家鼎) told CNA.

These artificial flavorings are widely used because they enrich the flavor of food, Liao said. For instance, eugenyl methyl ether gives food the smell of passion fruit, pineapple, grape, cranberry and grapefruit, while pyridine adds the smell of seafood, he explained.

Although their limited use does not pose a health risk, Liao said, the expert meeting opted to follow the example of the U.S. and ban three of them.

When the ban goes into effect at the start of 2024, violators will face a fine ranging from NT$60,000 (US$2,000) to NT$200 million in accordance with the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation, Liao said.

As to why only three of the artificial flavorings are to be banned in Taiwan, FDA technician Chou Pei-ju (周珮如) said the other three flavorings are only banned by the U.S., and the FDA will make a further assessment based on the response of the international community and local industry before considering adding them to the list.

(By Flor Wang and Chang Ming-hsuan)

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