Taiwan to tighten rules on use of nitrogen in food packaging from 2023

09/15/2021 09:15 PM
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Unsplash photo for illustrative purpose
Unsplash photo for illustrative purpose

Taipei, Sept. 15 (CNA) Stricter regulations on the use of nitrogen in food packaging will be introduced at the start of 2023, Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Wednesday.

The FDA put forth its plan on Wednesday to designate food-grade nitrogen as a food additive in the Standards for Specification, Scope, Application and Limitation of Food Additives, and thus allow the substance to be controlled under the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation.

In addition, nitrogen can only be considered as food grade if the concentration is 99 percent or over, the food regulator said.

According to FDA senior official Liao Chia-ting (廖家鼎), the new measures will allow the FDA to better regulate nitrogen, which is one of the most effective ways of slowing down food deterioration and improving longevity.

The FDA has long planned to do so as the current rules do not provide clear guidelines on the use of nitrogen in food packaging, Liao said, adding that the new rules will be in line with international standards.

The FDA has also come up with new measures to better monitor how the nitrogen is used in Taiwan.

Starting from 2023, anyone who produces, imports, sells or uses nitrogen for food packaging will have to obtain prior approval from local governments and submit relevant information on their use on a monthly basis, Liao said.

Under the act, unlicensed users of the substance will be subject to a fine ranging from NT$30,000 (US$1,071) to NT$3 million, Liao said.

Nitrogen is an inert gas that does not react with prepared food materials and thus does not alter their aroma or flavor. Also, gaseous nitrogen effectively displaces oxygen, minimizing oxidation and the growth of microorganisms that cause foods to lose their freshness and deteriorate faster.

(By Chiang Hui-chun and Teng Pei-ju)

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