European Union – EEAS (European External Action Service) | EU-Taiwan seminar hosts experts to discuss food safety controls and regulations

Taipei, 4-5 June 2014 – The European Economic and Trade Office (EETO), together with the European Business Regulatory Cooperation (EBRC), the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA), and the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) hosted a field of distinguished food industry experts at its 2014 EU-TW Food Safety Seminar. The seminar, attended on both days by around 200 representatives of European and Taiwanese regulatory authorities, academia, industry and consumer associations, brought together food safety regulatory experts to share information on the international trend towards a horizontal regulatory framework for food safety and to establish an effective post-market surveillance mechanism. The European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT), the Taiwan Food Good Manufacturing Practice Development Association (GMP), and the Taiwan Food Industry Development Association (TFIDA) supported the event. The seminar is part of the EU efforts to enhance EU-Taiwan cooperation aimed at facilitating the harmonization of Taiwan’s regulatory standards with international standards and practices, share best practices on enforcing standards among all stakeholders and thus ensure the safety and protection of consumers.

Shiu Ming-neng (許銘能), Vice Minister of Ministry of Health and Welfare (MoHW), Viktoria Lövenberg, Deputy Head of the EETO,  and Chiang Been-huang (蔣丙煌), Minister of State without Portfolio, Executive Yuan, delivered opening remarks at the seminar by welcoming greater information exchanges and future cooperation between Europe and Taiwan. Ms Lövenberg declared the objective of the food safety seminar was to create an environment that would be conducive to eliminating trade irritants and seek to bridge existing gaps by proposing internationally-agreed and scientifically underpinned solutions. She added that these solutions should follow an integrated approach to food safety, that are fully in line with the principle of a high level of protection of human health and consumers’ interests while at same time ensuring that trade is not unnecessarily hampered.

The event hosted experts from both the EU and Taiwan. The European experts shared presentations on food safety systems and food controls in the EU and Member States. They gave detailed accounts of European countries’ regulatory practices on market surveillance, labeling, traceability, GMOs, food safety crisis management and communication in the EU and international food safety related standards and best practices. Experts from Taiwan introduced the Taiwan Food Safety Act and its amendment and gave an insightful presentation on industry self-regulation. After each of the seminar’s presentation sessions, Q&A sessions were held to allow members of the audience to raise questions or make comments.

The final panel discussion was moderated by Ms Bonnie Sun Pan and participated in by all the speakers along with Mr Pan Jyh-quan, Director of the Food Safety Division at the TFDA and Professor Sheen Lee-yan from the Institute of Food Science and Technology at National Taiwan University. The discussion expanded on several topics raised over the course the seminar. The lively panel discussion was a fitting end to a productive seminar that helped to clarify the effectiveness of food safety in the EU, improve understanding among various stakeholders in government and industry and provide a platform for further cooperation.

The European experts were Hans Joostens, Policy Officer of EC Directorate-General for Trade (DG-TRADE); Patrick Deboyser, Minister Counsellor, EU Delegation to Thailand from DG-SANCO; Stephane André, Policy Officer, of EC Directorate-General for Health and Consumers (DG-SANCO); Edzart Bruinier, Senior Scientific Officer of Veterinary Products from The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority; and Thomas Pavie, Deputy Agriculture Counselor for North Asia Region, French Embassy, China. Two experts from Taiwan were: Wu Tsung-hsi (吳宗熹), Section Chief of Section of Food Imports Management, Food Safety Division, TFDA, MoHW and Bonnie Sun Pan (孫寶年), GMP Chairperson.