Taiwan health authority to conduct inspections on flour next year

TAIPEI, Taiwan - As citizens put more emphasis on food safety, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) plans to conduct inspections on major food necessities such as sugar, salt and soy sauce next year, and the programme will start with the inspection of 22 local flour mills and importers.

MHW Minister Chiang Been-huang said yesterday that the oil scandal has raised public concerns over food safety since oil products are related to a wide-range of different industries.

Therefore, the MHW plans to check on various necessities to prevent similar problems in the future.

Chiang stressed that although revealing food safety problems via inspections may again raise public concern, it is the best way to solve the problem completely and protect citizens' rights to food safety.

Chiang also guaranteed the quality of oil products that people can currently find on the market, saying that they have all been proven safe for human consumption after resent inspections.

In addition, Chiang said that the MHW will not only carry out inspections on food necessities, but will also run risk assessments to identify which kinds of necessities have higher risks of being problematic.

Responding to the announcement, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Acting Director Jiang Yu-mei stated that it is essential to inspect flour as it is a common material used in food manufacturing. Since different additives may also be involved in producing products made with flour, these additives will also be a focal point in the up-coming inspections, said Jiang.

According to the FDA, the inspection will start with 22 major flour mills and flour importers on Jan 1.

The inspections will trace the source of original materials and additives in flour products. The FDA is expecting to finish the first inspection in Feb 2015.

Government, NTU Work Together on Food Safety

The MHW and National Taiwan University (NTU) signed a memorandum of cooperation on food safety yesterday, stating that they will try to introduce Good Hygienic Practices (GHP) risk management to local food companies in the future.

Although there are about 400,000 food companies in Taiwan, authorities will try to implement GHP to 4,000 registered food factories in the first phase to establish a more complete food safety management system.

For its part, NTU will integrate resources such as talents and technical experts from different departments, hoping to provide a more thorough support to the MHW.

The cooperation also marked a more comprehensive collaboration between the government and academic field.