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Begin tackling food safety issues with the environment: Ko

Begin tackling food safety issues with the environment: Ko

Food safety issues come from environment

I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko said Wednesday during an interview that while the government is thinking about how to use laws and executive orders to resolve food safety issues, it must first think about how to safeguard water, soil, sunlight and air from pollution to really solve the problems.

The rationale behind Ko’s statement is that foods including processed foods come from animals and crops on land and in the sea, and when the environments in which they grow are polluted, there will be no safe foods on the market.

A food safety activist, Ko said the food safety issues Taiwan now faces are the price the country has to pay for its industrial development. Polluted land and water have grown polluted crops and animals, which turned up on our dining tables, he added.

Ko said he was also worried about polluted fishes in the polluted sea along Taiwan’s shoreline. I-Mei’s lab has been conducting a thorough inspection and testing on fishes along Taiwan’s shoreline and will publish its results sometime next year, Ko said.

When asked about his view on the fact Taiwan’s Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation has been revised eight times and yet food safety scandals have become a common occurrence in Taiwan, Ko said the law should be divided into three laws to respectively regulate safety regarding crops and animals and the environments in which they grow, food making and processing, and food leftovers.

However, Ko said laws and inspections alone cannot solve the food safety issues around the world. Tens of thousands of toxics are unknown and therefore hard to be tested, and that’s what I-Mei lab is focusing on because it’s more important to research the unknown, Ko said.

Even inspection results cannot be relied on to safeguard food safety because most foods contain lawful amounts of additives, but all together the amount of additives one consumes during a day is beyond the bearable limit of our body, Ko said.

Instead, consumers should be more aware of origins and ingredients of the foods they purchase to lower the risk, and the government should first focus on safeguarding the soil, water, air and sunlight in the environment against pollution, and educating farmers, merchants, and vendors not to use pesticides and additives to ensure food safety under equal competition.

For example, Taipei City Government can educate vendors in a certain traditional market that it is illegal to put phosphate in their seafood, and if a vendor still does so after a month’s education and guidance, then a fine should be slapped on him or her.

Ko said the government can also learn from the Sri Lanka tea industry, which employs a unified way of spraying pesticides, including what, how much and when to spray. The results are safe and high-quality tea products that sell around the world, Ko said.

Ko urged young people of Taiwan to come forward and express the problems they face in terms of food safety and the environment. He also urged the future leader of Taiwan to look at the root problem of contamination in water, soil, air and sunlight to begin tackling food safety and environmental pollution issues at the same time.

Updated : 2021-09-19 20:18 GMT+08:00