Tue, Oct 28, 2008 - Page 3 News List

NTU calls for food safety organization at university forum

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

National Taiwan University (NTU) yesterday called on the government to establish a cross-departmental organization to better safeguard food sanitation in Taiwan.

At a forum in the university yesterday morning, Lucy Sun Hwang (孫璐西), a professor at the Institute of Food Science and Technology, emphasized the need for the government to set up a cross-agency food safety gate-keeping mechanism composed of officials from the Department of Health, the Council of Agriculture, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Environmental Protection Administration.

The officials should work out a standard operation procedure to deal with food scares, Sun Hwang said, adding that such a mechanism would help prevent the government from being “hurry-scurry” like it was during the recent melamine-tainted food scandal.

Bau Tzong-ho (包宗和), vice president of NTU, said the government should handle food safety issues at national security levels.

“When we talk about national security, we usually think of national defense and diplomacy, but food safety should also be taken equally seriously,” he said.

When asked for comment on the upcoming cross-strait food safety negotiation, institute chairman Yeh An-i (葉安義) said the government should establish a strict food safety standard for products from China instead of negotiating the issue with Beijing.

“If we consider Chinese products imported products, we should set up a criterion for them. It is as simple as that,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sun Hwang urged the public to react to food scares rationally and trust the judgment of food safety experts and the government.

“Having a balanced diet is the best way consumers can fight potential food scares. This way, we won’t be poisoned because of eating excessive amount of a certain toxic substance,” she said.

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