OPINION: Towards Easing Restrictions on Organic Food Imports in Taiwan

Taiwan’s restrictions on organic food imports are draconian.

Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG

The News Lens
Date: 2018/06/29
By Sophia Cai, Taiwan Business TOPICS Magazine

Rising food safety awareness and health consciousness among consumers around the world have made the consumption of organic foods a popular trend. In the United States, it is the fastest growing section of the food industry, with organic products accounting for over 5 percent of all food sold, totaling US$49.4 billion in sales in 2017, according to the Washington DC-based Organic Trade Association (OTA).

Taiwan, with less than 0.1 percent of global category sales in 2017, falls behind global and regional markets in its consumption of organic foods. Driven largely by the demand for locally grown organic rice, organic sales in Taiwan will see moderate year-on-year growth of close to 5 percent in 2018, according to the Global Organic Trade Guide. This is much slower than the rest of the Asia Pacific region, which will experience approximately 13 percent year-on-year growth in 2018.

The lack of available organic products on the market in Taiwan can be explained in part by the range of rigorous regulations placed on imported food and agricultural products. In the 2018 “Taiwan White Paper”, the Retail Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei makes several suggestions aimed at improving industry-government collaboration in the realm of food and commodity safety.

All imports of fruit, vegetables, meat, and other food products are subject to a long import process that includes inspection from the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) at the port of entry. Inspectors test for pesticides, animal drugs, and other contaminants such as heavy metals.    [FULL  STORY]

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