Thu, May 15, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Board of Foreign Trade will provide safety certificates


The government is mulling plans to issue SARS-free certificates to exported goods in response to requests from foreign buyers. The buyers are concerned about the potential of the SARS infection being spread from the goods, a Ministry of Economic Affairs official said yesterday.

"Despite the fact that only a few foreign clients require such certificates at the moment, we will still implement this measure to ease their concerns," Wang Cheng-fu (王振福), a division head at the ministry's Board of Foreign Trade said yesterday.

The SARS virus can survive up to four days without a host, according to a report the World Health Organization (WHO)released last week.

Wang Cheng-ching (王正青), deputy secretary-general of Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry (機器公會) said that none of its members has received such requests from their foreign clients to date.

He also expressed concerns over viability to carry out the disinfections.

"Some sophisticated machines and devices could be damaged by disinfectants," Wang said.

"Also, it may be dangerous to use chemicals on perishable products, such as food," he said.

An official at the China Food GMP Development Association (中國食品GMP發展協會), a domestic food association, agreed with Wang, saying chemical deposits could pose additional threats to human health.

The official stressed that the association's member companies have already ensured proper hygiene during production, in order to avoid any food contamination.

Acknowledging the possible problems caused from product disinfection, Wang said the board is working with the Department of Health (DOH) to formulate a proposal which will specify methods of proper disinfection for different products.

After completing disinfection, companies can obtain a certificate from the board, Wang said.

Wang, citing a DOH report, said the SARS virus cannot live in room temperature for over 48 hours.

On April 11, the WHO issued a report saying that there is no information that suggests contact with goods, products or animals originating from SARS-affected areas has been the source of SARS infection in humans.

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