A decision by the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) to establish maximum residue levels (MRLs) for eleven (11) agrochemicals on apples came under criticism.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
GAIN Report Number: TW12045
New MRLs for Apples
Agriculture in the News
Fresh Deciduous Fruit
Trade Policy Incident Report
Trade Policy Monitoring
Jeffrey Hesse, Chief, Agricultural Section, American Institute
Rosemary Kao, Agricultural Specialist, American Institute in
A decision by the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) to establish maximum residue levels (MRLs) for
eleven (11) agrochemicals on apples came under criticism after local media reported that the request for the
MRLs had come from Korean authorities. In 2010, Taiwan's imports of Korean apples reached a record US$9.6
million, but imports from Korea fell to only US$3.5 million in 2011 after multiple MRL violations disrupted trade.
Recently, Taiwan media reported extensively on the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration's (TFDA) decision to
establish new maximum residue levels (MRLs) for eleven (11) agrochemicals on apples. Korean authorities had
petitioned for establishment of the MRLs after Korean exporters experienced repeated problems with pesticide
residue violations, which disrupted shipments to Taiwan in 2011.
TFDA's decision was criticized by local media, food safety critics and consumer groups. TFDA authorities
defended the decision, stressing that Taiwan routinely receives up to 1,000 MRL requests annually and that new
MRLs are adopted only after thorough risk assessments, which take into consideration international standards,
the acceptable daily intake and total intake of individual agrochemicals and Taiwan consumers' dietary habits.
TFDA also noted that once a new MRL is established, the MRL applies to product from any source, including
domestically grown and imported.
Chemical Nam MRL e
(parts per million)
Korea applied for thirteen (13) MRLs on apples. Taiwan established four (4) of the MRLs in November 2011 and
another seven (7) MRLs in June 2012. The reason that MRLs established months ago made the local press now
was because a Korean apple cooperative has scheduled a big promotion campaign during the upcoming
Thanksgiving weekend (November 23-24, 2012) to re-introduce the "safer" Korean apples in connection with
the start of the new shipping season. The apple cooperative had invited Taiwan media to visit Korea in advance
of the launch of the Taiwan promotion, and cooperative officials apparently shared the news about the new
MRLs with those media representatives.
Imports of Korean apples had been placed under batch-by-batch inspection and testing for pesticide residues
since February 1, 2011 following various MRL violations during that shipping season. However, Taiwan
importers that subsequently met the clean-shipment threshold qualified for less stringent inspection and
testing. According to the Taiwan "Regulations of Inspection of Imported Foods and Related Products", produce
subject to elevated batch-by-batch inspection will only be accepted for import inspection when accompanied by
a pre-shipment laboratory test report that indicates the produce is in compliance with all of Taiwan's pesticide
The problems faced by imports of Korean apples are reflected in the following table, which offers a five-year
comparison of Taiwan's imports of U.S. apples. Shipments to Taiwan declined sharply in 2011 due to the
repeated MRL violations and subsequent sanctions in the form of escalating border inspection/testing and the
requirement for pre-shipment testing.
Taiwan: Imports of Apples from Korea, 2007-2011
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Volume (MT) 1,249 3,348 7,135 6,563 2,490
Value (US$1,000) 1,426 4,119 7,897 9,689 3,459
Source: Council of Agriculture from Customs data
For additional information on the Taiwan market for apples, also see the following GAIN reports:
TW12038 - Taiwan Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual
TW12034 - Taiwan Implements Temporary Tariff Reduction on Fruit Imports