Wed, Oct 23, 2013 - Page 3 News List

FDA calls on students to join food safety alliance

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday reiterated the call for university students from food nutrition departments to support the government in its efforts to fight substandard food products by forming a “food safety protection alliance.”

There are 18,633 students in the nation’s 139 nutrition related departments in 37 universities and colleges, and the administration said it was targeting them as potential volunteers for the future operation of a food safety alliance that is slated to be established early next year.

“Helping the health authority before graduating might also benefit their future food safety-related careers,” FDA Deputy Director-General Wu Hsiu-ying (吳秀英) said.

The administration said the alliance’s main task will be assisting health authorities in checking the labels of food products, disseminating information on food safety, inspecting whether food-processing locations are following standard good hygiene practices and double-checking whether substandard food products have been pulled off shelves.

Student volunteers will be valuable to the alliance as “these students have knowledge about the names of food additives, their function and how they should be used,” National Taiwan University’s biochemical science and technology professor Huang Ching-jang (黃青真) said.

Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) said on Monday that there are about 800 volunteers who will help the alliance and expanding the taskforce by inviting students is one way to cope with the lack of qualified inspection officials at inspection sites.

The administration added that as the inspection network expands, it will not take violations lightly, stressing that the amended Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) which came into effect in June has the severest punishment of life imprisonment and may be accompanied by a maximum fine of NT$20 million (US$681,000) per violation.

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