Thu, Dec 13, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Food monitoring system adopted

WHAT YOU EAT The mechanism will help ensure producer responsibility, guarantee food quality and offer consumers useful information about the food that they eat

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Executive Yuan said yesterday it would implement a food traceability system starting next year, enabling consumers to trace the place of origin of agricultural products as well as the pesticides used in their production.

"We expect to include 10 percent of agricultural products in the system in the first year and gradually expand that to cover all products by 2015," Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) said at a Cabinet meeting yesterday.

Traceability is a high-tech system that has already been adopted in many countries to record and manage information on products, from production to processing. It helps ensure producer responsibility, guarantee food quality and offer consumers clear information on the food they buy.

Through the system, people will be able to access data relating to how produce was grown and processed, Chang said.

The government attaches great importance to agricultural development and the welfare of farmers, he said, adding that it had prepared a draft agriculture law to help the nation's agricultural sector cope with the impact and challenges posed by globalization, the liberalization of markets as well as global warming.

An amendment to the Value-added and Non-value-added Business Tax Act (加值型及非加值型營業稅法) -- which would entitle authorities to lower business taxes levied on corn, wheat, barley and soy beans -- was also passed at the meeting yesterday.

The amendment was proposed as part of the government's effort to stabilize commodity prices and in view of the fact that the nation imports nearly 100 percent of the four staples, whose prices are closely linked to that of crude oil.

If the amendment passes the legislature, the authorities would be able to adjust taxes for the four staples without being bound by the statutory business tax rate of 5 percent to 10 percent as stipulated in the act.

The business tax currently imposed on the four staples is 5 percent. The Cabinet has yet to determine the future tax levels for the four items.

"Some people have suggested the four staples be exempt from the business tax to maintain price stability, but adjusting the tax is actually a better way to deal with the problem," Deputy Ministry of Finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) said.

"After all, price fluctuations are only short-term factors," he said.

A bill establishing a certificate system for opticians and prohibiting staff without the appropriate certification from conducting eye exams was also passed at the Cabinet meeting yesterday.

Additional reporting by CNA

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top