According to the Council of Agriculture (COA), the hygiene and safety of fruit and vegetable is a public concern. The farm products pesticide residue control and monitoring system has thus been established to examine the type and content of pesticide residues on about 10,000 fruit and vegetable products every year with chemical methods by the Taiwan Agricultural Chemicals and Toxic Substances Research Institute (TACTRI). Farmers are either requested to postpone the harvest or penalized by law for unqualified products. Furthermore, the Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) of COA helps farmer’s associations, cooperatives and fruit and vegetable wholesalers to set up biochemical laboratories to provide examination services for farmers and self-management of fruit and vegetable. About 300,000 samples are examined every year. The COA will reinforce the GAP certification to ensure the food safety of consumers.
The COA added, that of the 7,417 farm product samples examined with the chemical method by October, 96.2% were proven qualified; and of the 256,094 samples examined with the biochemical method, 98.1% were proven qualified. Moreover, the Department of Health (DOH) has examined 996 samples collected from the market this year, and 99.6% were proven qualified. To reinforce the qualify control of GAP, the COA also collected GAP samples from the market for lab test. Of the 217 samples collected by October, 8, oronly 3.6%, were proven unqualified.
The COA said that results of unqualified samples will be distributedsend to local governments for follow up, including education for farmersproducers and supervising those farmers to postpone the harvest. These farmers will also be penalized according to the Pesticide Management Act, i.e., they will be fined a sum between $15,000 and $75,000. For GAP products, farmers will be penalized according to the GAP Logo Approval and Use Regulations, i.e. they cannot use the GAP logo for a term of 3 months to 1 year. The COA will cancel the right of using the GAP logo for serious offenders. For unqualified fruits and vegetables found on the market, suppliers (farmers) will be penalized by a fine of between $4,000 and $200,000, and all such products will be forfeited and destroyed.
Regarding the crown daisy examination report announced on December 6 by the Consumer’s Foundation, 5 samples in the total of 19 contained excessive pesticide residues, and 2 of them were GAP-certified products. The COA said that it will trace and investigate the sources of these unqualified products and cancel the right of use of the GAP of these farmers. Furthermore, the COA will reinforce the education of safety use of pesticide and the examination of pesticide residue in crown daisies to ensure fruit and vegetable hygiene and safety.
To ensure the rights and benefits of consumers through effective management of fruit and vegetable hygiene and safety, the GAP (Good Agricultural Practice) logo will be replaced with the CAS logo starting 1 January 2006, and the Agricultural Product Production and Certification Management Act is being drafted to provide clear specifications for the basic safety, certification, logo, indication, investigation, seizure and penalty of agricultural products, and the act will be enforced after finalizing the legislation, process, according to the COA.