In June 2016 a food-safety program was initiated, under which the government, vendors and the public jointly established a farm-to-table food safety system to monitor agricultural products throughout the production, manufacturing, distribution and sales processes. The program not only helps assure consumers that the foods they consume are safe, but also boosts the quality and competitiveness of Taiwan's food industry.
On June 7 this year, the globe marked the inaugural U.N.-designated World Food Safety Day. It is a day to call attention to food safety issues and inspire action to prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks. Taiwan has responded with vigor to join the world with promotional campaigns and inter-ministry cooperation to improve education and guidance for both businesses and shoppers, and create a friendly, safe and transparent consumer environment.
Five protections for a farm-to-table food safety system
◆ Strengthen source control management: The Toxic and Chemical Substances Bureau has been established to conduct integrated cross-agency chemical flow analyses and control toxic chemicals at the source. The bureau is responsible for preventing environmental pollutants from entering the food supply.
◆ Re-establish the food production-management system: Significant energy has been invested in revamping and extending existing projects. The Taiwan Agriculture and Food Traceability System now tracks products from the point of origin and provides a clear record of every stage of the production process. A food business registration system has also been expanded to certify food product manufacturers and improve production management. Finally, the government has stepped up efforts to promote organic and environmentally friendly farming, as well as moving forward with a system for licensed doctors of plant medicine.
◆ Strengthen inspection capabilities: The frequency and rigor of inspections for agricultural products and producers that are high risk, often violate regulations, and attract widespread concern has been raised. Monitoring and inspections for pesticide and veterinary drug residues in farm, fishery and livestock products have also been improved to ensure that unsafe food does not reach the market.
◆ Increase liability for producers and vendors: Taiwan conducts rolling reviews of food safety rules and legislation. The government is also improving cooperation among investigators, police and disciplinary agencies in order to fine, prosecute and increase liability for offenders.
◆ Encourage and enable citizen oversight: A national 1919 whistleblower telephone service has been established to encourage the general public to report violations, while the Campus Food Ingredients Registration Platform is being promoted to improve transparency on school lunch sources and raise public awareness of food safety issues.