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FDA announces new rules on what products can be called 'chocolate'

2021-03-03  English News
Photo: PAKUTASO
圖說 : Photo: PAKUTASO

Taipei, March 2 (CNA) Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday announced new rules on how much chocolate and cocoa products must contain to be able to include the word "chocolate" in their names, with the changes set to take effect on Jan. 1 next year.

The rules cover chocolate products that contain fillings, chocolate pastes and syrups, as well as chocolates that have added vegetable fats, Lee Wan-chen (李婉媜), chief of the FDA's Food Safety Division, told reporters.

For chocolates that contain fillings, such as those produced by the Ferrero Rocher company, the chocolate coating must make up at least 25 percent of the total weight of the product in order to use the word "chocolate" in its name, Lee said.

The product must also state that it contains a filling, for example by describing it as a "chocolate-coated hazelnut," Lee said.

In terms of non-solid chocolate products, including chocolate spreads and chocolate syrups, they must contain at least 5 percent cocoa solids or 2 percent cocoa butter to have "chocolate" in their names.

Chocolate products with added vegetable oils that account for over 5 percent of the total weight of the product will not be allowed to have "chocolate" in their names, though they can be described as chocolate-flavored.

In the past, these products could be called "chocolate with cocoa butter substitutes," Lee said.

According to Lee, the new rules will apply to products made from Jan. 1, 2022. Manufacturers will be fined NT$30,000 (US$1,066) to NT$3 million if their product packaging lacks the required information.

Manufacturers will be fined NT$40,000 to NT$4 million if their product packaging contains false information, Lee said.

In 2016, the FDA set standards for dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate products that do not contain fillings, specifying how much cocoa butter and cocoa solids they must contain. Those rules came into effect in 2017.

The Control Yuan said in a 2019 report that these standards were not comprehensive enough, as over 90 percent of chocolate products sold in Taiwan contain fillings or added vegetable fats. It asked the FDA to set more stringent rules on the naming of these types of chocolate products.

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