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Mandatory registry of food additives to begin in January

TAIPEI -- The voluntary registry system for businesses dealing with food additives will become mandatory in 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said yesterday.

Any companies manufacturing, producing, packaging, selling or using food additives will be required to register their names and the additives they deal with in a specialized government database beginning in January, the FDA said.

Over 500 companies have already voluntarily completed the registration process since the database was launched in April 2012 in response to the discovery in 2011 of toxic plasticizers being used in processed food items, said Tsai Shu-chen, head of the FDA's Division of Food Safety.

The decision to make registration mandatory, the FDA said, was made because other food scandals emerged this year, including the unauthorized use of modified starches in food products and the use of unauthorized additives in cooking oils.

The FDA said officials will inspect businesses in the future to verify that they are only dealing with the additives they have registered.

Companies that fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of between NT$30,000-NT$3 million (US$1,006-$100,572) under the Act Governing Food Sanitation.

Registering food additives will be the first phase of the system, with future phases to cover companies that deal with processed foods, aquaculture products, milk, plastic food containers and packaging materials, meal boxes and health foods, the FDA said.

Regulations governing the registry of companies in those other sectors are expected to be announced by July 2014, according to the FDA.

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