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July 28, 2017

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All vegetarian products must have detailed labels starting from July 1

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- All packaged products claiming to be vegetarian must come with labels detailing its ingredients categorized within the five specific vegetarian groups starting July 1, announced the Department of Health (DOH) yesterday.

The new rule requires manufactures to label their products with "vegan," "ovo-lacto vegetarian diet," "ovo-vegetarian diet," "lacto-vegetarian diet," and "Wu Shin vegetarian diet," which includes scallion, garlic, onion, leek and hing, an Indian condiment, instead of the ambiguous "for vegetarians" label or they will be subject to a NT$30,000 to NT$150,000 fine, local media reported.

Hsu Ching-shin, food hygiene technician of DOH, pointed out that millions of vegetarians in Taiwan are often confused by the labeling because they cannot tell whether the ingredients inside adhere to their diets.

Manufacturers will also be fined if the product contains meat-related ingredients inconsistent with its vegetarian labeling. This includes unintentionally mixed meat-related ingredients during the production process.

In related news, loose foods sold in markets must have a label that clearly identifies the product and states the country of origin starting January 1, 2010.

The DOH has drafted a Q&A list in regards to the new vegetarian packaged foods rule. For further information, visit food.doh.gov.tw.

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