A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker said yesterday a new government food safety certification regime should be created to replace the two principal systems that failed to prevent the widespread use of potentially harmful chemicals in food products.
Amid a tainted food scandal that continues to dominate headlines, DPP Legislator Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) said many customers had lost confidence in the state’s ability to eliminate the use of banned chemicals in everyday products, foods and beverages, undermining the image of Taiwanese goods at home and abroad.
A new government certification, created especially to address such “loopholes” in the inspection process and add to the existing checks from the Certified Agricultural Standards (CAS) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) labels, would aim to allay such public concerns, Hsu said.
“Standing on the side of user-friendliness, the new certification would make the government hold responsibility for consumer safety. Not only would it aim to manage the source of the products, it would also monitor the entire [manufacturing] process,” he said.
The current certification regimes — the CAS and GMP labels — were created by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Council of Agriculture and are administered by industry groups.
Hsu said that direct public accountability, with government officials placed directly in charge of the new certification, was needed.
“If officials aren’t made responsible, then it means there is effectively no control,” Hsu said.
As it stands, when manufacturers don’t abide by health and safety practices, “they receive a fine, but there’s no real fear,” he said.
The proposed certification, which Hsu said he planned to introduce in the legislature, would serve as a form of safety guarantee, he said.
DPP lawmakers have already suggested they would back the proposal.
A statement given by the party yesterday said it would ask the government to consolidate the various food safety labels into a uniform platform “to better ensure public safety.”
A recent poll suggested almost seven in 10 members of the public said that they have lost confidence in the GMP label, citing the failure to discover the use of the chemical DEHP in clouding agents in sports drinks, juices, tea drinks, fruit syrup and tablets and powders.
DEHP, a category four substance, was also used to make flavorings and food coloring agents. Prolonged exposure has been linked to the stunted development of sex organs in males, hormone disruption and fertility problems.
The survey by the DPP showed that 67.9 percent of the public believed they or their families have at some point ingested goods containing the chemical.
921 EARTHQUAKE: The magnitude 7.3 quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged The Central Weather Bureau yesterday received about 50,000 views on Facebook after it posted the data that it collected on Sept. 21, 1999, when the nation was devastated by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake. The data showed that the 921 Earthquake hit the nation at 1:47am, with the epicenter being 7km southwest of the bureau’s quake detection center in Nantou County’s Yuchi Township (魚池) at a depth of 8km. The quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged, with the cost of the damage estimated at NT$300 billion (US$10.8 billion at the current
British newspaper The Mail on Sunday reported that Prince Charles met with Bruno Wang (汪家興), a Taiwanese fugitive who describes himself as a Chinese philanthropist and donated ￡500,000 (US$683,522) to the prince’s charity, the Prince’s Foundation. The newspaper reported that Wang is wanted in Taiwan on charges related to money laundering and being a fugitive from justice, allegations he denies, and drew comparisons between Wang and the Russian banker Dmitry Leus. Investigation and cooperation with foreign authorities have found that Bruno Wang’s father, Andrew Wang (汪傳浦), had stashed proceeds from a scandal involving the procurement of Lafayette frigates in 61 bank accounts,
AT ODDS: The KMT called on the government to seek bilateral dialogue with Beijing to resolve the issue that led to the ban on custard apple and wax apple imports Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials and lawmakers yesterday condemned China’s sudden ban on imports of custard apples and wax apples from Taiwan as “obvious political retaliation,” while the opposition called for a scientific investigation into Beijing’s claim to have found pests in imports of the fruits. China earlier yesterday announced a ban on the importation of the two fruits from today, citing repeated discoveries of Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug. The announcement follows a similar ban on Taiwanese pineapples imposed in February. At least Beijing gave a few days’ notice when it banned pineapple imports, an unnamed government official said yesterday. This time
BY OTHER MEANS: China could see CPTPP membership as a means of circumventing trade restrictions imposed by the US, amid an ongoing trade dispute between them The US could invoke a clause in its trade agreement with Canada and Mexico to block China’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a government official said yesterday. Under Article 32.10 of the Exceptions and General Provisions of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), if either Canada or Mexico enter a free-trade agreement with a nonmarket economy — such as China — the US could withdraw from the agreement. “If that clause applies to multilateral free-trade agreements such as the CPTPP — which Mexico and Canada are members of — that might be cause for the two