Premier Lin Chuan today vowed to improve Taiwan’s food safety situation, saying the government will not tolerate an environment in which the public felt uneasy or insecure about the food they consume every day.
Convening his first Executive Yuan food safety meeting since the new administration took office in May, the premier said the purpose of the meeting is not only to implement President Tsai Ing-wen’s food safety policies but also to take up the responsibility for making food safer for citizens and to come up with better response policies.
“Across Taiwan, people are concerned about the safety of food products because it affects the health of their families. Since this is a matter of public concern, the government must take up responsibility and do its part,” he said.
During the meeting, the premier underscored the importance of the proposed “five rings of food safety” reform program, adding that each of the five components will be closely examined at future meetings. The Executive Yuan will implement all measures as soon as the program is approved and keep a close eye on its progress.
Under the five rings program, the government is planning to increase its food safety improvement spending from NT$40 to NT$60 (US$1.23 to US$1.84) per person per year, the Council of Agriculture said. While this level still lags behind those of advanced countries, it nonetheless marks a large step forward for the government. The council also plans to make high-risk products a top priority by working closely with the Executive Yuan food safety committee and other groups on random inspections of high-risk food products.
As for a proposal by the Executive Yuan Office of Food Safety to set up a national agency on food safety risk evaluation, Lin said the food safety committee members have provided helpful recommendations on how to establish an independent, comprehensive and credible evaluation mechanism. The short-term focus will be on establishing an independent evaluation method, and he asked the committee to help resolve problems in this regard. As for long-term plans, Lin instructed the Office of Food Safety to follow the committee’s recommendations and come up with specific plans at the next meeting.
Today’s meeting also included reports on food safety operations at central and local governments, as well as on the progress of separating food and non-food production facilities by manufacturers.