Taiwan has announced plans to create a new bureau within the EPA with chemicals regulation duties. The bureau will be similar to the agency first proposed, but not set up, in 2014. It will be responsible for the implementation of the Toxic Chemical Substances Control Act (TCSCA). The plans were revealed by the country’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, in a 30 August speech at the opening of a food safety summit in Taipei. The summit was organised after several major food contamination scandals hit the country. Ms Tsai made food safety and the creation of a bureau for toxic materials and chemical substances regulation a major plank of her election campaign earlier this year. Taiwan University’s College of Public Health and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy hosted the event. EPA Department of Sanitation and Toxic Substance Management deputy director, Chen Shu-lin, told Chemical Watch that food safety will be one of the bureau’s main tasks. And EPA vice minister, Chan Shun-kui, told Chemical Watch the elevation of such operations into a full bureau will boost human and financial resources for upstream risk management, and give it greater influence. He said the government hoped the new bureau would in place by the end of the year. Ms Tsai also promised to set up an independent agency for food safety risk assessment and to sharply increase central government spending on food safety. She told the summit that ensuring food product safety was one of the new Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government’s top priorities. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, tightening of regulation relating to latent harmful materials in food containers and packaging is listed as a major step in achieving better source regulation. Ms Tsai also expressed support for major revisions of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation being proposed by DPP legislators. The changes would aim to: build regulation based on scientific foundations; and improve transparency, communication and self-regulation among companies.
Chemical Watch, 12 September 2016 ;http://chemicalwatch.com ;