Dozens of civic groups yesterday took to the streets of Taipei to vent their frustration over what they said was the government not taking responsibility for its handling of the tainted lard oil scandal, calling on Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) to step down.
Chanting slogans such as “Waste oil hits, food safety ruined,” representatives of the Homemakers United Foundation, the Homemakers Union Consumers Coop, the National Alliance of Parents Organizations, the Taiwan Yucheng Victims’ Support Organization and other groups staged a protest in front of the Executive Yuan yesterday morning.
“Although the Executive Yuan has held several emergency meetings to seek ways to handle the snowballing tainted lard oil scare, it has yet to disclose the issues discussed or any consensus reached during the meetings, nor has it given a time line for when the scandal will be brought under control or what emergency measures it will implement to tackle a food scare that has had a widespread impact,” Homemakers United Foundation chairman Chiang Miao-ying (江妙瑩) said.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Chiang also accused government agencies of shirking their responsibility during the scandal and failing to join forces to work out ways to improve the nation’s regulations on the sources of ingredients used in food, especially the Food and Drug Administration, the Council of Agriculture, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Environmental Protection Administration.
“The seemingly endless string of food scares in recent years has completely exposed the ineffectiveness of the government’s efforts to safeguard food safety,” Chiang said.
Chiang also criticized Jiang.
“If you cannot do your job, please step down. We will find someone else who can,” Chiang said.
Homemakers Union Consumers Coop chairman Hsu Hsiu-chiao (許秀嬌) said the group has spent years of effort trying to educate consumers to monitor what they eat by reading the ingredient labels, but its endeavors have repeatedly been nullified by food scares.
“Usually, government agencies do nothing to regulate food manufacturers and rely solely on ‘self-monitoring.’ When problems surface, they evade responsibility and have no desire to address them,” Hsu said.
Taiwan Yucheng Victims’ Support Organization standing director Lo Shih-hsiang (羅士翔) said the government’s indifference toward food safety is evidenced by its apparent attempts to downplay the potential health impacts of consuming recycled waste oil.
“The victims of PCB [polychlorinated biphenyl] poisoning have for years been forced to live with the painful trauma left by a food scare [in 1979], yet their suffering and predicament seem insufficient to awaken the government to the importance of food safety,” Lo said.
The 1979 scandal involved rice bran oil laced with PCB — a group of industrial chemicals that can cause long-term skin problems if consumed in large amounts — that affected more than 2,000 people across the nation.
National Alliance of Parents Organizations supervisor Huang Tsung-chih (黃聰智) said the tainted lard oil scandal has unnerved many parents nationwide, who fret that the government’s inability to monitor the quality of raw materials could leave their children vulnerable to more contaminated food.
Tsai Meng-lun (蔡孟倫), an adviser at the Executive Yuan’s Department of the Interior, Health, Welfare and Labor, received the petition from the groups.
The groups also issued three demands: that the Executive Yuan immediately hold inter-ministerial food safety conferences to seek ways to make the control of food materials at the source more stringent; that the government establish a mechanism to allow the public to help monitor food safety risks; and that a law on dietary education be implemented as soon as possible.
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
CASH BOOST: Foreign spouses with residency permits are also eligible for the coupons, which can be bought at post offices or linked to digital payment options Stimulus coupons for Taiwanese and foreign spouses with residency permits can be ordered starting on July 1 and can be used from July 15 to Dec. 31, the Executive Yuan said yesterday. Aimed at boosting domestic spending, the coupons worth NT$3,000 (US$100.04) are to cost NT$1,000. “For our consumers, this is a very good deal as they get three times as much value for their money,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a news conference in Taipei. While the coupons are to have a wide range of uses, including at department stores, restaurants, book stores, night markets, beauty and hair salons, hotels, and to
Beijing is to ease a ban on foreign airlines starting on Monday next week, changing course one day after the administration of US President Donald Trump demanded that China reopen to US airlines or face curbs on its own carriers flying passengers to the US. Foreign airlines excluded from an earlier pact would be able to operate one commercial passenger flight to China per week, the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration said. It did not name any countries or carriers, but the move opens up a chance for US airlines to return for the first time in four months. While the timing might