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 2025, 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$5.1 billion (US$180.6 million), the plan will be implemented over four terms, with NT$300 million (US$10.6 million) earmarked for the first term, NT$500 million (US$17.7 million) for the second, and NT$1.6 billion (US$56.7 million) for the third. 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.
Five main components
■ Construct a modern national food and drug laboratory and administration and training building: 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: Enhance the effectiveness of 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 food safety management testing efficiency and quality at 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: Purchase high-precision, high-end testing equipment and establish a high-resolution mass spectrometry database to expand testing abilities for dangerous substances in foods. Develop related inspection techniques to improve testing abilities for pesticides, additives and genetically modified organisms in food. Use big data analysis to detect counterfeit food and pharmaceutical products. Bolster technology and personnel training as well as international cooperation for inspecting emerging and potentially risky substances.
■ Enhance the research capability and standardization of emerging infectious disease medicines and food-borne pathogens: Enhance the capabilities of biological laboratories and experimental animal centers. Improve the functions of national food and drug laboratories. Strengthen research on worldwide emerging food-borne pathogens and infectious diseases in order to assist the biotech industry in the development of diagnostic reagents, therapeutic and preventive medicines and improve the competitiveness of Taiwan’s biotech industry.