As part of the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program, the government has launched a food safety infrastructure plan to strengthen Taiwan's ability to ensure the safety of food products. Running from 2017 through 2021, the plan is intended to serve as an additional mechanism to the comprehensive five-point food safety policy already in place. Funded by a special budget of NT$2.9 billion (US$93.8 million), the plan will be implemented over three terms, with NT$300 million (US$9.7 million) earmarked for the first term (September 2017 to December 2018) and NT$500 million (US$16.2 million) for the second (2019 to 2020). The objectives are to strengthen border inspections, improve local government sampling and testing, and bolster the central government's R&D and food safety incident testing capabilities.
Four main components
■ Construct a modern national food and drug laboratory and training facility: This facility will help shorten the time required for detecting adulterated food products, and develop stronger analysis techniques for new and potentially risky substances. It can also serve as a base for strengthening food and drug regulations and training testing personnel.
■ Raise the effectiveness of the border inspection rapid customs clearance system: This component seeks to make the border inspection rapid customs clearance system 10 times more effective, help port offices establish independent risk assessment mechanisms, improve automation of the document inspection system, and shorten customs clearance time for products.
■ Improve the food safety sampling and testing capabilities of local health bureaus: Local health bureaus will perform 85 percent of their own food safety testing, and all 22 local health bureaus in Taiwan will be certified by the Ministry of Health and Welfare as food testing agencies to guarantee testing quality.
■ Strengthen the central government's food safety testing capabilities: High-precision testing equipment will be purchased to improve testing for food adulteration and unknown contaminants. Big data analysis will be used to single out counterfeit food and pharmaceutical products. Stronger testing methods will be developed and international cooperation encouraged.