Taiwan limits use of Eucalyptus globulus leaf and extract to food flavourings from Jan 2024

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

The leaves of the Eucalyptus globulus tree. ©Getty Images
The leaves of the Eucalyptus globulus tree. ©Getty Images

Related tags Eucalyptus globulus Taiwan Food additives Raw material

From January next year, the Eucalyptus globulus leaf and extract can no longer be used as a food raw material, except as a food flavouring, Taiwan authorities said.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare is limiting Eucalyptus globulus to use in food flavourings after re-assessing its safety and medical properties.

“Eucalyptus globulus leaves and its leaf oil essence (Eucalyptol; 1,8-cineole), as well as Eucalyptus oil and other Eucalyptus globulus leaf extracts, are internationally approved for use as fragrance or natural flavourings and are approved as flavourings domestically.

“However, aside from its use as a flavouring, Eucalyptus globulus leaves and its extracts are also used as herbal medicines or a component of OTC medicines internationally.

“Having considered its medicinal properties and international regulatory conditions, the Ministry of Health and Welfare has re-evaluated its safety for oral consumption and is of the opinion that it is unsuitable to be used in foods, except as a food flavouring,”​  the ministry explained.

Throat lozenges and chewing gum containing Eucalyptus globulus leaves, its leaf extract, or its leaf essential oil as food flavouring, can still be sold in the market and are not affected by the regulatory change.

On the other hand, foods containing the botanical as a food raw material can still be sold in the market before the policy comes into force until the date of product expiry. Companies that have violated the law will face a fine of over NTD$30k to NTD$3m (US$993 to US$99k).

Eucalyptus globulus oil is usually used as a decongestant via inhalation.

Well-absorbed orally, especially in the presence of a lipid substance, it may also be used in OTC products that treat nasal decongestant in the form of lozenges. Daily oral dosages can range from​ 0.3 to 0.6ml essential oil or equivalent preparations.

It is recommended that the maximum adult daily oral dose of the Eucalyptus globulus leaf oil is 600mg. Adverse effects​ from oral ingestion could include burning sensation in the mouth, vomiting, diarrhoea, and epigastric pain.

Most of the products containing Eucalyptus globulus sold on e-commerce sites in Taiwan are in the form of essential oils for inhalation via a diffuser. An example is US-originated Now Foods' Essential Oils Eucalyptus Globulus.

The brand's other product, the Eucalyptus Essential Oil Blend, which contains jojoba seed oil and Eucalyptus globulus leaf oil, is available as a roll-on. 

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