In its announcement last month, the Taiwan FDA also proposed that the changes will be applicable to pre-packaged foods for infants, toddlers, and special medical purposes – food categories which now fall under the bigger umbrella of pre-packaged foods.
Earlier in May, the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration announced that pre-packaged foods for infants, toddlers, and special medical purposes will need to follow the nutrition labelling standards applicable to all pre-packaged foods.
The latest announcement by the regulator last month is a further step to the regulatory development seen in May.
Firstly, the regulator has proposed that pre-packaged foods for infants, toddlers, and special medical purposes will also need to follow the nutrition claims applicable to all other pre-packaged foods – which was not the case previously.
At the moment, nutrition claims are categorised into two big umbrellas: 1) nutrients that should be taken in moderation and 2) nutrients that could be taken as a form of supplementation.
Examples of nutrients that should be taken in moderation include fat, sugar, saturated fatty acids. In this case, the product labelling should list these nutrients as “to be taken in moderation.”
Examples of nutrients that could be supplemented include vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibres. In this case, the product labelling should list these nutrients as “supplementation required”.
These rules had come into force since 2015.
This particular framework will remain in place in the new proposal.
However, the regular has proposed that pre-packaged foods should also specify the amounts of calories or nutrients present in relation to the weight/volume/quantity of the entire product.
Thirdly, the regulator is proposing that the products could “use any method, such as specifying, using metaphors, or hints to express that a particular product contains or do not contain certain nutrients.”
Fourthly, the regulator has specified the protein, vitamin B6, B12, D, K, folic acid, biotin, and pantothenic acid requirements for 1) individuals without special needs, 2) children between one and three years old, and 3) pregnant women.
The public consultation is opened since October 13 and will close 60 days later.
Broadening permitted terms
The authorities have also proposed the terms that could be used for making nutrition claims.
For instance, products can claim to “provide” or “contain” certain nutrients, on top of the existing permitted terms such as “a source of”. The product label should also state the quantity of nutrients that the product contains.
“The terms ‘a source of’ and ‘provide’ are usually factual nutrition claims, and if the product indeed contains certain nutrients, the permitted terms for making claims could be expanded to include ‘contain’,” the TFDA explained.