Singapore lifts restriction on local food, beverages


TAIPEI — Exporters of certain beverages and food items in Taiwan will no longer be required by Singapore from March 1 to provide official certification that their products are plasticizer-free, the Cabinet-level Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday.

Following China’s decision on Jan. 5, Singapore will exempt Taiwan firms from providing certification for five categories of exports: sports drinks, juices, tea drinks, fruit jams or syrups, and tablets or powders, the DOH’s Food and Drug Administration said. Singapore and China were among a few countries in the region, including Hong Kong and South Korea, that required Taiwan last year to provide plasticizer-free certifications in the five categories, after it was reported in May that some locally produced items — mainly soft drinks — were tainted by industrial plasticizers.

The scandal, which involved unscrupulous manufacturers adding toxic plasticizers into clouding agents — common additives used in food and beverage production to cut down costs — triggered public panic over food safety.

In response, the relevant authorities in Taiwan took immediate action to crack down on the illegal practice of adding plasticizers to clouding agents nationwide.