Government to set up agency soon for toxin, chemical management

Taiwan's Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said Thursday that it plans to establish an agency by the end of the year to manage toxic and chemical substances as part of the government's efforts to improve food safety.

The new agency is likely to open before the end of December as the Cabinet on Thursday approved a bill put forward by the EPA for the establishment of the Toxins and Chemicals Bureau, said EPA Minister Lee Ying-yuan (???).

The draft bill will now be sent to the Legislature and pending its passage, NT$600 million (US$19.06 million) will be allocated in next year's budget to run the Toxins and Chemicals Bureau, which will be staffed by 80 people, he said.

The establishment of the new government agency is part of President Tsai Ing-wen's (???) food safety policy, which underscores source control, Lee said.

He said Tsai's directive for the establishment of a government department that would be responsible for the management of toxic and chemical substances was based on concern over the huge price that the public pays whenever the country is hit by a food safety scandal.

Lee cited the 2011 case of DEHP plasticizer being found in 877 food and drink products, which resulted in NT$11.4 billion in losses and huge damage to Taiwan's image in the international community.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel