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New GMP certification to begin in April

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A new Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification process will take effect on April 1 to ensure food safety in the future, the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday.

In the wake of a tainted oil incident last year, the Control Yuan censured the MOEA and the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) for failing to ensure food safety properly and ensure a sound GMP certification process.

In response, IDB has rolled out measures to address the problem, and with their implementation starting on April 1, problems of a similar nature will not occur again, IDB deputy director Lien Ching-chang (連錦漳) said.

The new GMP certification process will expand the scope of inspections of goods manufactured from one single production line to those manufactured from all similar production lines. In addition, in an effort to ensure the quality of finished food products, officials will require registry of companies that provide source materials.

In the future, the IDB will also keep an eye on how the GMP sign is posted in stores. Some shops post the sign even though not all of their products meet the standard, which is somehow for consumers. In the future, the IDB will ensure that only shops that have all their products certified may post the GMP sign. For companies that have some of their products certified, the GMP sign may only be printed on products that have been certified. In addition, merchants have to apply to the MOEA and be approved before they can use the GMP sign.

Shops and companies that already use the GMP sign have until the end of this year to make sure all related regulations are properly followed.

Control Yuan's Censure

In its censure following the tainted oil incident, the Control Yuan said that the MOHW lacks a standard procedure, and that while the MOHW was well aware of the fact that a number of firms violate the rules, it allowed them to continue their operations. The Control Yuan added that of the 315 firms that signed affidavits with the MOHW, 14 continued to violate the law. The MOHW lacked a proper procedure and failed to adopt necessary changes promptly, the Control Yuan said.

Prosecutors accused Tatung Changchi Foodstuff Co. (大統長基食品) last year for adding prohibited additive sodium copper chlorophyllin to their oil products.

Up to 1,257, 3,037 and 4,571 metric tons of low quality cottonseed oils was imported in 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively. Despite the huge volume, the MOHW failed to make proper inspection, and the low quality cottonseed ended up in finished oil products.

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