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Bakery products in Taiwan; Many bakery products still contain trans fats

Partially hydrogenated oils will no longer be allowed in Taiwan’s processed food products (e.g. bakery products) under a bill proposed Sept. 7 by the Taiwanese Food and Drug Administration.

Steps to remove artificial trans fat from Taiwan’s food supply chain are being taken by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA, not to be confused with their similarly named US colleagues) under the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Under an FDA-introduced bill, the use of edible partially hydrogenated oils—the major dietary source of artificial trans fat—will be banned from processed food. Further input from experts and related government agencies will be canvassed over the next 60 days before the legislation takes effect.

“Local food producers will have three years to comply with the new rules,” an FDA official said Sept. 7, adding that after the grace period, violators will be subject to maximum fines of NT$3 million (US$90,909), with offending products removed from shelves and destroyed.

The latest move follows the FDA’s directive in July requiring food product labels to declare trans fat content if it exceeds 0.3 gram per 100 gram or milliliter of said products.

“Other than ensuring public health, the new law also underscores government commitment to bringing the country’s regulation in line with global standards,” the official said, citing a decision by the U.S. FDA in June to remove partially hydrogenated oils from food products in three years.

According to the MOHW Health Promotion Administration, research shows that intake of between 4 to 5 grams of trans fat per day increases the possibility of coronary heart disease by contributing to the buildup of low-density lipoprotein and triglyceride inside the arteries.