The Council of Agriculture announced that it will set into motion three major certifying criteria, namely, Traceability Agricultural Product (TAP), Organic Traceability Agricultural Product (OTAP) and Quality Traceability Agricultural Product (UTAP), starting from today (June 14, 2007). It plans to integrate all certifying criteria currently used in the market into these three major certifying criteria by 2010 and advance the policy of safety agriculture on all fronts. COA disclosed the three major certifying criteria in Taiwan Pavilion’s Theme Section in Food Taipei 2007: Taipei International Food Show, proclaiming the governmental policy of managing safety quality agriculture, thereby demonstrating government determination and ambition to push for safety agriculture to both domestic consumers and buyers from around the world.
Minister Chia-ch’uan Su indicated that, in order to safeguard our nationalities’ health and consumers’ rights, after COA promulgated and put into effect Regulations Regarding Production and Certification of Agricultural Products on January 29, 2007, COA has finished stipulating in less than four months eight sub-regulations, namely, Enforcement Rules of Regulations Regarding Production and Certification of Agricultural Products, Certifying Regulations of Traceability Agricultural Products, Certifying Regulations of Quality Agricultural Products, Certifying Regulations of Organic Agricultural Products and Organic Agricultural Processed Items, Regulations of Imported Organic Agricultural Products and Organic Agricultural Processed Items, Regulations of Certification Institutes of Agricultural Products, Regulations of Insignias of Agricultural Products and Regulations of Examination and Sampling Inspection in succession, which serve to build a milestone on the way to institutionalization of Taiwan’s safety agriculture.
Minister Su indicated that COA had advanced quite a few measure related to safety agriculture, stipulating criteria like Safe Agricultural Products (Gi-Am-Pu), Organic Agricultural Product, Quality Agricultural Product CAS in the past. From now on, in order to make it possible for consumers to identify safety agricultural products without much difficulty and make their purchase with much self-assurance, COA will base Taiwan’s safety agricultural products on the implementation of traceability of agricultural products. COA has finished stipulating TAP, OTAP and UTAP. The T in TAP stands for traceability while representing Taiwan at the same time. Therefore, it can be inferred that TAP signifies Taiwan’s agricultural products endowed with traceability information.
Minister Su pointed out in particular that TAP, OTAP and UTAP would be put to use starting from June 14 and urged all consumers to make it a point to identify the three certifying criteria when shopping for agricultural products. Staring from 2009, all these organic certifying criteria will be converted into OTAP without exception. Secondly, the certifying criteria of CAS quality agricultural products currently available in the market will be all converted into UTAP starting from 2010.
In order to increase the additional value and international competitiveness of Taiwan’s agricultural products, ensure the safety of food and upgrade our living standards, Minister Su noted in particular, COA has put on the priority list the 2015 all-inclusive implementation of the traceability system of Taiwan’s agricultural products.
Minister Su indicated that, in order to ensure the safety of traceability agricultural products and correctness of it information, COA has planned to introduce an independent and impartial third-party certifying and identifying system. It entrusted Taiwan Accreditation Foundation to act as the certifying institute of traceability of agricultural products last September to help COA conduct affairs related to certification. With the joint venture of Taiwan Accreditation Foundation and COA, Food Safety Institute International-Asia-Pacific Office (FSI International)was granted a certificate on May 14 to become the first certifying institute of traceability agricultural products to pass certification in Taiwan. Under the strict certification of FSI International, eggs from Shih An Farm, Cow Tomatoes from Golden-Triangle Cooperative, vegetables from Hankuan Vegetable and Fruit Production Cooperative and chicken from Dachan Great Wall all passed certification and their related products will hit the market in succession.
Minister Su stressed that certified traceability agricultural products would carry the certification insignias for quick identification, apart from that, consumers may log on to Taiwan Agricultural Food Traceability System (http://taft.coa.gov.tw) to inquire about related information of traceability of agricultural products they purchased. For the present, COA has installed information-searching devices in Jason’s Supermarket in Taipei 101, Dayeh Takashimaya Supermarket in Tian-Mu Taipei, Traditional GAN-Ju-Dan in Shin-Zhu to facilitate the information-searching job by the consumers. COA is expected to install more information-searching devices by the end of this year in Carrefour, RT-MART, Hsin-Nong Supermarket, Taisuco Hypermarket, Wellcome Supermarket that sell traceability agricultural products. In the future, with the increase of the supply of certified traceability agricultural products, COA will install even more information-searching devices step by step in associated markets to facilitate the onsite information-searching job by the consumers and ensure their consumption safety.
Minister Su indicated that COA is putting more efforts into advancing the traceability system of agricultural products aggressively to allow safety agriculture to become more sound and solid as time goes by so that we will be able to meet the same safety standards of agricultural products of advanced countries to benefit a holistic production of safety agricultural products, increase their additional value and international competitiveness, ensure our consumption safety and eventually create a new era of safety agriculture.