New food safety risk classification system announced


The Executive Yuan or Cabinet of Taiwan has announced a new food safety risk classification system. The full press release as published on the Executive Yuan website is as follows:

“Executive Yuan announces food safety risk classification system

Date: 2013-11-20 Data Source: Office of Information Services, Executive Yuan

The government will introduce a new system for classifying risks associated with food safety issues, Minister without Portfolio Chang San-cheng said at today’s meeting of the Executive Yuan food safety inspection and crackdown team. From the start of the clampdown on adulterated cooking oil on November 1 through November 17, the team had examined 110 oil products, of which 50 failed checks and 16 tested positive for the presence of copper chlorophyllin. All products found in violation have been confiscated for destruction and are listed on the Food and Drug Administration’s website (www.fda.gov.tw/TC/siteContent.aspx?sid=3719#1, in Chinese).

The minister also announced that a second wave of inspections would begin shortly, to focus on more commonly used food products. He added that Premier Jiang Yi-huah is pushing for three layers of food quality control involving the manufacturer, the government, as well as outside inspectors. Food manufacturers should perform the first layer of quality assurance diligently and send their products to impartial testing organizations to add a second layer of control. Meanwhile, government agencies will provide the third layer.

Chang said the new food safety risk classification system divides problematic foods into four types (with risks ranging from severe to mild):
1. Products that cause immediate health danger from short-term consumption.
2. Products that fail to meet food safety codes but pose no immediate danger.
3. Adulterated or counterfeit products, or products with labels exaggerating benefits.
4. Products containing false or incomplete labels.
For instance, oils containing copper chlorophyllin would be registered as a class 2 risk, while oils adulterated with cotton-seed oil would be considered counterfeits and placed in class 3.

Minister Chang said the Act Governing Food Sanitation already contains provisions and penalties addressing all four types of violations. The government will apply these standards when handling any food safety issues in the future.

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, food sanitation officials across the country were dispatched a total of 5,428 person-times since the edible oil safety operation began November 1. The scope of examination has since been expanded to include oil raw materials and additives. As of 2 p.m., November 19, inspection teams made 17,160 visits to food stores, checked a total of 50,811 items and pulled 464 items from shelves due to improper labelling.”

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