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Hail legitimacy and stand against illegality for safer dried Daylily products

  • Data Source:Ministry of Health and Welfare
  • Created:2017-07-31
  • Last Updated:2017-07-31

To reduce the public health risk of sulfur dioxide residue in dried Daylily products, the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) put together the “Joint Counseling and Testing Team of Dried Daylily Product” with the help of the Council of Agriculture and local health authorities in 2012. The team specifically works during Daylily harvest time to put additional efforts into the management of producers and processers. Local authorities have also strengthened the control and audit of high-risk sales in their jurisdictions. Through the collaboration of different agencies, the qualification rate of dried Daylily products has risen from 57.7% in 2012 to 88.4% in 2016.

The so-called top three Daylily Mountains, which are located in eastern Taiwan, are carpeted with blooming golden Daylily blossoms every year, from midsummer to early autumn. The freshly picked Daylily buds can be processed into a specialty product, called “Dried Daylily”. In early times, the harvest of fresh buds was processed by sulfite (a sort of eligible bleaching agent) immersing and solar drying for the purpose of long term preservation. However, the usage of bleach was too tricky to control and had no feasible quality assurance method before putting the product on the market. Therefore, the residual level of sulfites was usually found exceeding the regulatory limits (not more than 4.0 g/kg calculated as residual SO2). The residual sulfites could cause asthma or other allergic reactions in some people. “Dried Daylily” has been a critical issue for the general public for many years.

To relieve the situation, the TFDA established a strategy to “hail legitimacy and stand against illegality”. The collaboration between central and local authorities oversaw all relevant commercial activities, including those of producers, suppliers, and restaurants. The specific topics included: (1) Developing a safer or sulfite-free processing technique and introducing it to farmers; (2) Creating a quick sulfite screening method for the quality assurance of products; and (3) Promoting the “Taiwan Daylily Logo” and QR Code to trace the product supply chain and establish brand reputation. Furthermore, to reduce the number of disqualified products, in addition to enhancing management of sources, the local authorities should frequently sample products from high-risk sales in their jurisdiction. Disqualified products can prompt investigation into their sources, a recall of suspicious products, and penalties imposed on those responsible. After a five-year endeavor among central and local authorities, the qualification rate of dried Daylily products has risen from 57.7% in 2012 to 88.4% in 2016.

The relevant sanitary food safety agencies will continue surveillance over this product to strengthen management at the source and introduce business entities with the QR Code to trace production. Furthermore, penalties will certainly be imposed on those producers and processers violating the regulations that ensure food safety for consumers.