Sat, Oct 18, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Health minister named

FOOD SCIENTIST:Minister Without Portfolio Chiang Been-huang is ‘the most ideal candidate to lead the ministry,’ a press release by the Executive Yuan said

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Minister without Portfolio Chiang Been-huang speaks at a press conference in Taipei yesterday after being named minister of health and welfare.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Minister Without Portfolio Chiang Been-huang (蔣丙煌), who is in charge of technology and health welfare-related affairs at the Cabinet, is to take the role left vacant by former minister of health and welfare Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達), the Executive Yuan said yesterday in a press release.

“The public has been yearning for an overhauled food safety system following the recent spate of food scares, which makes the ministry’s need for a leader specialized in food safety management even more urgent,” Executive Yuan spokesperson Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said in the press release.

Sun said Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) believed that desperate times call for desperate measures and decided to rise above the common conception that the ministerial position must be taken on by medical or public health experts.

“Premier Jiang is confident that the newly appointed minister will do his utmost to address the food safety problems in an effort to make the public feel at ease when choosing their foods,” Sun said.

After nearly four years at the helm of the ministry, Chiu resigned on Oct. 3 to take political responsibility for the nation’s seemingly endless series of food scares.

With a doctorate in food science from the University of Illinois in the US, Chiang has served as the dean of National Taiwan University’s Institute of Food Science and Technology as well as the College Bioresources and Agriculture department head.

Since he became a minister without portfolio in March this year, the former academic has addressed health and welfare-related affairs, including government policies on disease control, health and medicine and food safety, the press release said.

“In addition, Chiang has participated in every inter-ministerial meeting on the recent series of cooking oil scandals presided over by Jiang. He is familiar with the government’s current food safety policies and is perfectly aware of the improvements that need to be made,” the press release said.

“He is the most ideal candidate to lead the entire ministry in safeguarding people’s health,” it added.

Jiang praised Chiang’s expertise in food safety and biotechnology during a question-and-answer session at the legislature, saying that Chiang also possessed adequate knowledge of the prevention of Ebola virus infection and the priority draft bills the ministry has been pursuing.

At a press conference held to announce his new designation, Chiang said it took him nearly a week to decide whether to take the job at such a sensitive time.

“However, if my accepting the job can really help achieve something, then everything else is secondary,” Chiang said, adding that his ultimate goal was to ensure public health and give people peace of mind.

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