WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Under Taiwan’s Feed Control Act, amended on Feb. 4, 2015, all genetically-engineered (GE) products for animal feed use are now required to register with Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA) for premarket approvals by Feb. 4, 2017, in accordance to Article 11 of the amended Act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) reported on Jan. 3.

This change shifts the regulatory burden from Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (TFDA), the agency which previously had regulatory oversight over all GE event approvals. TFDA will now focus exclusively on those GE events which may enter the general food system (i.e. not destined for animal feed) while COA will oversee GE event approvals in commodities destined for animal feed.

Taiwan’s COA notified “Regulations for Certificate Inspections of Genetically Modified Feed and Feed Additives” to the World Trade Organization (WTO) as G/SPS/N/TPKM/373 on Sept. 24, 2015, with a 60-day comment period. To provide sufficient time for regulatory compliance, the notified regulation is anticipated to be implemented as soon as COA’s regulatory system is established, anticipated this January at the earliest.

While local life science companies (LSCs) are in communication with COA regarding the GE feed safety assessments to be included in the applications, COA has yet to publish or finalize such guidelines. COA also needs to establish a GE feed safety assessment committee to review the dossiers and conduct feed safety assessments. COA will need time to build its safety assessment capacity on non-food products – such as alfalfa - as TFDA has no experience to share.

Those GE products/events either previously submitted to TFDA and/or granted TFDA approval are exempt from COA technical review and approval requirements. However, LSCs are required to submit dossiers for these grandfathered GE products to COA. As of reporting date, local LSCs have submitted all GE canola, cotton, and one sugar beet for food use dossier to TFDA, ahead of COA’s implementation date for the notified regulations.

TFDA’s current approval list comprises of 99 GE products including four canola, 12 cotton, 21 soybean, and 62 corn events. Six cotton and one GE sugar beet applications have been granted approval but are yet to publish. All non-corn and non-soybean GE products in commercial chains for food use are required to register to TFDA by Feb. 5, in compliance with the Feb. 5, 2014, amended Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation. TFDA extended its GE regulatory scope to all GE products from the existing GE corn and soybeans in accordance to the Feb. 5, 2014, amended Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation.

To see a list of those GE events currently approved by TFDA, and thus approved by COA, click here.