Taiwan to revise classification of ‘chocolate products’ in 2022

TAIPEI (The China Post) — The Food and Drug Administration under the Ministry of Health and Welfare (衛生福利部食品藥物管理署) announced on Tuesday a new regulation that will update requirements for using the term “chocolate” starting on Jan. 1, 2022.

According to the new regulations, chocolate content in foods containing stuffed chocolate and other foods must reach 25 percent, and the vegetable oil content of all chocolate products must not exceed 5 percent of the total weight to be classified as “chocolate.”

The FDA had originally required that dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate should only be labeled if cocoa butter and milk solids reach a certain content, but the requirements only extend to chocolate products without stuffings.

As chocolate with stuffing accounts for more than 90 percent of the market, they are not subject to this restriction. Even without cocoa, a product could still be called “chocolate” which drew criticism from many professionals.

In 2019, the FDA discussed the amendment of regulations to prevent loopholes, and officially announced on Tuesday that the amendment of the
“Regulations on the Name and Labeling of Chocolate” (巧克力之品名及標示規定).

According to the FDA, the chocolate content of chocolate products containing stuffing in the future should reach at least 25%, and synonyms such as “stuffing” or “processing” should be marked before the name of the product.

The cocoa solid content of chocolate sauce and syrup products should be at least 5 percent or cocoa butter should be at least 2%, the FDA added. In addition, the FDA has simultaneously deleted the labeling requirement of “cocoa butter as substitute chocolate”.

Simply put, in the future, all products with vegetable oil added exceeding 5% of the total weight of the products shall not be named “chocolate”, and even if it is less than 5%, vegetable oil must be marked clearly.

The new regulations will be implemented on Jan. 1, 2022. From the date of implementation, chocolate products produced and manufactured must comply with the new regulations.

Those who fail to be marked in accordance with the regulations will be fined NT$30,000 to NT$3 million in violation of the Food Safety and Hygiene Administration Law (食品安全衛生管理法).

In addition, if the marking of chocolate is untrue, violators may also be fined between NT$40,000 and NT$4 million.