Borough wardens and a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker yesterday criticized the government for asking for wardens’ help in implementing ractopamine labeling rules weeks before lawmakers approved the importation of pork containing the substance.
The Ministry of the Interior in a memo on Dec. 3 informed wardens that they would be responsible for distributing ractopamine content label stickers to non-unionized pork vendors and retailers, KMT Legislator Wan Mei-ling (萬美玲) told a news conference in Taipei.
“The memo must have come from the future, because the legislature did not approve the importation of pork containing ractopamine until Dec. 24,” Wan said.
The ministry has inappropriately asked wardens, who lack authority over health and welfare matters, to do the government’s work in connection with a policy that is unpopular, she said.
Furthermore, the document was ambiguously phrased and wardens had to call district offices to learn that non-unionized pork vendors and retailers refer to all food stalls, breakfast places and snack shops that sell pork, she said.
“The government is passing the buck to wardens in an issue that could make the public unhappy, yet it could not be bothered to tell the wardens exactly who it is they should be working with,” she said.
The memo did not explain a course of action for dealing with uncooperative vendors, or “who is in charge of monitoring compliance and who would be responsible if the labeling does not match the content,” she said. “It is asking a lot of wardens and is very unfair.”
The ministry has not clarified the roles of sanitation inspectors and wardens in policing food labeling, an omission that has lead to confusion over jurisdiction, Taoyuan’s Rueicing Borough (瑞慶) warden Huang Hsin-yun (黃欣韻) told the news conference.
“The memo they sent us had no explanatory notes and I am sure I am not the only warden confused by it,” she said. “We are willing to comply with government policies, but orders must be clear, precise and inside the bounds of our duties.”
Taiwan Borough Wardens’ Friendship Association president Yang Hsin-kun (楊鑫坤) told the news conference that marking food products is the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s business, in which wardens have no say.
“I kindly thank the government for finding us wardens work, but it is not as if we did not have enough on our plates,” he said. “We are already involved with pandemic control this year.”
“Wardens are willing to serve the public and support government policies, but how come pork containing ractopamine does not have to be clearly marked? Why do wardens have to put their faces on a policy that harms public health?” Yang asked.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: A US Air Force KC-135 tanker came less than 1,000 feet of an EVA plane and was warned off by a Taipei air traffic controller, a report said A US aerial refueling aircraft came very close to an EVA Airways jet in the airspace over southern Taiwan, a military aviation news Web site said. A report published by Alert 5 on Tuesday said that automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) data captured by planfinder.net on Wednesday last week showed a US Air Force KC-135 tanker “coming less than 1,000 feet [305m] vertically with EVA Air flight BR225 as both aircraft crossed path south of Taiwan” that morning. The report included an audio recording of a female controller from the Taipei air traffic control center telling the unidentified aircraft that it was
A series of discussions on the legacy of martial law and authoritarianism are to be held at the Taipei International Book Exhibition this month, featuring findings and analysis by the Transitional Justice Commission. The commission and publisher Book Republic organized the series, entitled “Escaping the Nation’s Labyrinth of Memory: What Authoritarian Symbols and Records Can Tell Us,” to help people navigate narratives through textual analysis and comparisons with other nations. The four-day series is to begin on Thursday next week with a discussion between commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠), Polish-language translator Lin Wei-yun (林蔚昀), and Polish author and artist Pawel Gorecki comparing
MOVING OUT: A former professor said that rent and early education costs in Taipei are the nation’s highest, which makes it difficult for young people to start families The population of Taipei last year fell to the lowest in 23 years due to high rent, more transportation options and the expansion of northern cities into a single metropolis, academics and city officials said on Monday. Data released this month by the Ministry of the Interior showed that the capital was home to 2,602,418 people last year, down 42,623 from 2019. The decline is second only to 1993, when the population fell by 42,828 people, while Taipei’s population was the lowest it has been since 1997. Taipei saw the biggest drop among the six special municipalities, while Taoyuan led the group in
A US aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt has entered the South China Sea to promote “freedom of the seas,” the US military said yesterday, as tensions between China and Taiwan raise concerns in Washington. US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that the strike group entered the South China Sea on Saturday, the same day Taiwan reported a large incursion of Chinese bombers and fighter jets into its air defense identification zone near the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島). The US military said the carrier strike group was in the South China Sea, a large part of which