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Q&As Regarding the Inspection of Imported Alcohol

1.What are the inspection scope and hygiene standards of imported alcohol?

2.What are the inspection items and methods for the inspection of imported alcohol?

3.What circumstances render the imported alcohol exempted from inspection? What are the restrictions?

4.How the inspection of imported alcohol is conducted?

5.Who is the obligor of the application for the inspection of imported alcohol?

6.What circumstances render the lot-to-lot inspection of imported alcohol?

7.What circumstances render the release-after-documentary examination of imported alcohol?

8.What circumstances render the Lot-sampling inspection of imported alcohol?

 

1、What are the inspection scope and hygiene standards of imported alcohol?

Answer:According to Article 2 of “The Administrative Regulations Governing the Inspection of Imported Alcohol,” the regulations herein are in regard to the inspection of the hygienic safety of imported alcohol. The hygiene of imported alcohol shall be in conformity to the hygiene standard requirements prescribed jointly by the central competent authority and the central competent health authority. That is, “The Hygiene Standards for Alcohol Products” stipulated jointly by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health and Welfare is as follows: 

 

Items Types of products Standards of tolerance
  1. Brandy, grape distilled spirits, and sweet potato distilled spirit Shall not exceed 2,000 mg in each liter (calculated by 100% ethyl alcohol)
Methanol 2. Fruit marc distilled spirits, wine fermented from fruits and other fruit distilled spirits, with the exception of grapes Shall not exceed 4,000 mg in each liter (calculated by 100% ethyl alcohol)
3. Grape wine, Tequila Shall not exceed 3,000 mg in each liter (calculated by 100% ethyl alcohol)
4. Beer, alcoholic beverages brewed from grains, other brewed alcoholic beverages, whisky, clear spirits, rice spirits, other distilled spirits, cooking wines, and edible ethyl alcohol Shall not exceed 1,000 mg in each liter (calculated by 100% ethyl alcohol)
5. Reprocessed alcoholic beverages Shall be in conformity to the stipulations of that for ethyl alcohol, fermented alcoholic beverages, or distilled spirits used as a base alcohol in the reprocessing
Lead All types of products Shall not exceed 0.3 mg in each liter
Sulphur dioxide 1. Alcohol products brewed from fermented fruits Shall not exceed 0.4g in each liter
2. Beer and beverages brewed from grains Shall not exceed 0.03g in each liter
3. Other alcohol products for consumption purpose Shall not contain any sulphur dioxide
Preservatives 1. Alcohol products brewed from fermented fruits The sorbic acid residue shall not exceed 0.2g in each liter
2. Alcohol products having an alcohol content of 18% or less The benzoic acid residue shall not exceed 0.4g in each liter

3. Each preservative residue in the same alcohol products as referred to in the preceding two items was divided by its limit standards; the sum total may not exceed 1.

4. Other alcohol products for consumption purposes shall not add sorbic acid or benzoic acid. However, if it is proved that they were produced naturally during the process of manufacturing or existed naturally in the raw material or carried over by the raw material, and if the residue level does not exceed the limit provided in the first and second items, they are not subject to this restriction.
Coloring Materials All types of products The residue of lutein in each liter of an alcohol product shall not exceed 10 mg.
Norms in principle

Alcoholic beverages or the usage of additives in alcohol products shall not have the following:

1. Toxic or any other substances or matter harmful to human health.

2. Never been used on food or beverages and have not yet been proven to be unharmful to human health.

 

2、What are the inspection items and methods for the inspection of imported alcohol?

Answer:(1) The general application for inspection of imported alcohol will be carried out according to the items listed below. However, based on domestic and foreign information, those who have other hygienic safety concerns, inspection items are not restricted to this table.

 

Types of products Inspection items

1.Beer

Sulphur Dioxide

2.Wine

Grape wine Sulphur Dioxide
Other fruit wine Methanol, Sulphur Dioxide

3.Beverages brewed from grains

Methanol, Lead, Sulphur Dioxide

4.Other brewed alcoholic beverages

Methanol, Lead, Sulphur Dioxide

5.Distilled spirits

Brandy Methanol
Whisky Methanol
Clear spirits Methanol, Lead
Rice spirits Methanol, Lead, Sulphur Dioxide
Other distilled spirits Methanol

6.Reprocessed alcoholic beverages

Methanol, Lead

7.Cooking alcohols

Methanol, Lead, Sulphur Dioxide

8.Edible ethyl alcohol

Methanol, Lead, Sulfuric Acid test of Chroma, Oxidation Time, Solids Content, Cyanide (when cassava is used as a raw material)

9.Other alcoholic beverages

Methanol, Lead, Sulphur Dioxide

(2) Testing methods shall be in accordance with those prescribed jointly by the Ministry of Health and Welfare or the Ministry of Finance in conjunction with the Ministry. Edible ethyl alcohol shall meet the testing method set by the National Standards of the Republic of China (CNS) 15351 Edible Alcohol. The testing of imported alcohol shall comply with the National Standards of the Republic of China (CNS) if there is no testing method. If there is no national standard, it can be handled in accordance with internationally recognized methods or other feasible general methods based on its characteristics. The current testing methods of alcohols are as follows (for details, please download the relevant information on tobacco and alcohol inspection related information under the Business of Tobacco and Alcohol Administration):

●Methanol: Gas chromatography (GC), Spectrophotometry.
●Lead: Graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometry (GFAAS), Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MAS).
●Sulphur Dioxide: Alkaline titration method, High performance ion exclusion chromatography.

 

3、What circumstances render the imported alcohol exempted from inspection? What are the restrictions?

Answer:(1)According to Paragraph 1, Article 3 of the “The Administrative Regulations Governing the Inspection of Imported Alcohol”, one who imports alcohol shall apply for inspection. However, any one of the following circumstances renders the imported alcohol exempted from inspection:

a. The imported alcohol is for private use and its volume is no more than 5 liters.

b. The imported alcohol, as approbated by the central competent authority, is in conformity to the provisions given in Subparagraphs 1 to 3, Paragraph 1, Article 49 of the Customs Act.

c. The imported undenatured ethyl alcohol is to be used not for producing alcohol products.

d. Not-for-sale imported alcohol to be used as commercial sample(s), for exhibition, or for R&D (research and development) testing with its duty payable value being below US$1,000.

e. Not-for-sale imported alcohol to be used as commercial sample(s), for exhibition or R&D testing with its duty payable value being above US$1,000 may be specified as exempt from inspection due to special conditions after being approbated by the central competent authority.

(2)According to Paragraph 3, same article of the “The Administrative Regulations Governing the Inspection of Imported Alcohol”, the importer is required to ensure that the hygienic quality of the alcohol, which is exempted from inspection, is in conformity to the stipulations. The competent authority may send inspectors to examine it at any time. If the importer violates the conditions in the use of the alcohol under this exemption of the provision, the importer shall be refused application for exemption from inspection of alcohol for a period of 6 months commencing from the violation of such exemption.

 

4、How the inspection of imported alcohol is conducted?

Answer:The inspection of imported alcohol is conducted in the following ways:

(1) Lot-to-lot inspection: By this means, after the application for inspection, the lot of alcohol shall be retained temporarily for inspection by sampling, and is permitted to be imported once the result of the inspection is found to conform to the stipulations.

(2) Lot-sampling inspection: By this means, after the application for inspection, the sampling probability shall be no less than 5% per lot. The lot of alcohol which is chosen to be sampled shall be retained temporarily for the sampling inspection and is permitted to be imported once the result of the inspection is found to conform to the stipulations.

(3) Release-after-documentary examination: By this means, the application for inspection may be completed and the alcohol product may be permitted to be imported upon the application being verified by computer that the alcohol is in conformity with the stipulation of Paragraph 1, Article 6; in addition, the first case of such alcohol products being accompanied by the aforesaid documents as stipulated in Article 6, the alcohol shall be imported once the documents are found to conform to the stipulations after examination and in the case that hygienic safety concerns remain, the sampling inspection measure may be applied.

 

5、Who is the obligor of the application for the inspection of imported alcohol?

The obligor of the application for the inspection of imported alcohol is the alcohol importing enterprise with a license permit obtained.

 

6、What circumstances render the lot-to-lot inspection of imported alcohol?

(1) The alcohol for which application for inspection has been made shall use the lot-to-lot inspection measure if it belongs to the following circumstances:

a. It is undenatured ethyl alcohol.
b. It is used for repackaging and sale or processing.
c. It may jeopardize the human body according to relevant foreign or domestic product safety information, or scientific evidence.
d. It is necessary to understand the product characteristic according to relevant foreign or domestic product safety information.
e. It is alcohol with the same brand name, origin, and product category of the product that had been imported by the same obligor of the application for inspection and was found not to conform with the stipulations after inspection. If, however, the alcohol of the same obligor of the application for inspection is qualified for three consecutive lots thereafter, the inspection may be conducted by means of lot-sampling or release-after-documentary examination.
f. The obligor of the application for inspection violates Paragraph 1 of Article 9, meaning the alcohol which is allowed for prior release is removed from the authorized wares storage site or transferred to a third party without authorization before being found to conform with the stipulations of inspection.
g. The central competent authority considers it necessary to conduct a lot-to-lot inspection due to hygienic safety concerns.
(2) According to practical operations so far, imported alcohol that is classified under the above circumstances (g.) include imported alcohol products whose country of origin is Russia, India, distilled spirits from Vietnam, or five prefectures in Japan (Chiba, Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, and Tochigi).

(3) Before the lot-to-lot inspection measure is finished, if the same obligor of the application reapplies for inspection with the same brand name, origin, and product category, the lot-to-lot inspection measure shall be conducted.

 

7、What circumstances render the release-after-documentary examination of imported alcohol?

The alcohol for which application for inspection has been made shall be handled under the release-after-documentary examination measure in the case that the status of the alcohol products conforms to one or more of the following conditions:
(1)The alcohol products have been previously inspected and found to be in conformity with the standard hygiene requirements: Alcohol products that have been previously inspected and found to be in conformity to the standard hygiene requirements referred to in Subparagraph 1 of the preceding paragraph shall mean that the alcohol with the same obligor of the application for inspection, brand name, origin, alcohol content, product category, packaging material, and manufacturer has been qualified for inspection conducted with the announced testing methods by the central competent authority or by a laboratory recognized by the central competent authority during the period of the two years preceding the date on which an application was made for the inspection of such products. In addition, grape wine with the same obligor of the application for inspection, brand name, origin, product category, packaging material, and manufacturer, with a difference in alcohol content, is also subject to the previous circumstances.
(2)The alcohol products are other than those sampled for inspection.
(3)The alcohol products are attached with hygiene certificates stipulated by the central competent authority: 
    A.The test report provided by a laboratory recognized by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation, or issued by a foreign governmental agency/institute of the original producing and exporting country, or a laboratory accredited by this governmental agency/institute within two years since its issuance.
    B.The test report or guaranty issued within two years since its issuance by the competent governmental authority (ies) or professional alcohol associations of the original producing and exporting countries of those alcohol product categories verifying that the alcohol indeed belongs to the announced product category and is also in conformance with the standard hygiene requirements detailed in Taiwan in the test reports or guaranties mentioned above.
    C.The self-certification issued within two years since its issuance by producers or exporters of the original producing or exporting countries to show their conformity with Taiwan hygiene standards for the grape wines accompanied by a statement filed and guaranteed by the obligor of the application for inspection of such wines that the grape wines are in conformity with the stipulations for excellent quality wines in the regulations of the country of origin.

 

8、What circumstances render the Lot-sampling inspection of imported alcohol?
When the imported alcohol for which application for inspection has been made is applied neither to the procedures of the lot-to-lot inspection measure, set by Article 5 of “The Administrative Regulations Governing the Inspection of Imported Alcohol”, nor as the release-after-documentary examination measure by Article 4 of the aforesaid regulation, it shall use the lot-sampling inspection measure.

Issued:Tobacco and Alcohol Management Division Release date:2023-09-28 Last updated:2023-10-17 Click times:3346