Government to ensure safe, nutritious school lunches

  • Date: 2016-08-11
  • Source: Office of Information Services, Executive Yuan

With  so  much  public  concern  over  food  safety  issues  in  Taiwan,  the  administration  must  ensure  that  students  have  safe  and  nutritious  lunches  at  school,  Premier  Lin  Chuan  said  at  the  Cabinet  meeting  today.

School  lunches  have  a  large  impact  on  the  health  of  students,  Lin  said  after  a  briefing  by  the  Council  of  Agriculture  (COA)  on  promoting  the  use  of  local  produce  in  school  meals.

In  its  report,  the  COA  said  the  Executive  Yuan  recently  implemented  a  “five  rings  of  food  safety”  reform  program  to  restore  public  confidence  in  agricultural  products  following  a  spate  of  food-related  incidents.  The  council  is  also  increasing  publicity  on  certified  agricultural  product  labels  and  encouraging  schools  to  use  locally  grown  ingredients  that  are  traceable  to  their  origins.

Starting  September  1,  the  COA  will  institute  safety  controls  over  the  fresh  produce  used  in  school  lunches  while  mandating  schools  to  provide  one  or  two  organic  meals  per  week.  Using  local  ingredients  will  help  enhance  children’s  health,  increase  demand  for  local  agricultural  products,  and  educate  students  on  food  and  farming,  the  council  said.

To  ensure  safety  and  sanitation  in  the  entire  process  from  ingredient  sourcing  to  food  preparation,  central  and  local  authorities  will  inspect  and  supervise  the  relevant  processes  while  the  schools  will  take  self-management  measures,  the  COA  said.  

In  particular,  the  agricultural  council  will  control  quality  at  the  source  by  managing  and  inspecting  the  fresh  produce,  fish  and  livestock  products  used  in  school  lunches.  As  for  the  food  preparation  stage,  the  Ministry  of  Health  and  Welfare  will  inspect  the  schools’  kitchens  and  storage  sites  to  see  if  their  preparation  methods  meet  the  required  standards.  The  health  ministry  will  as  well  conduct  random  inspections  on  cooked  foods  and  semi-finished  and  processed  products.