Power Without Performance is Shameful
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
October 16, 2014
Executive Summary: The Executive Yuan is establishing a "Food Safety Office." That is
essential. But the government must inspire people and ensure
performance, If such an office is not ambushed by black-hearted
merchants, it will be inundated by an avalanche of grievances. We want
to remind the Jiang cabinet: A government that weilds great power but
lacks the ability to help people Is shameful. It must make proper use of
its public authority, It cannot sit back and do nothing. while
plasticizing agents, toxic starches, rancid oil , and god knows what
poisonous substances make their way our food, It must plan ahead!
Full Text Below:
President Ma convened a National Security Council meeting on food safety. He decided to establish up a "Food Safety Office" within the Executive Yuan, and called upon the public to boycott "blackhearted merchants." This was a declaration of intent. But it was a myopic response to the crisis. He failed to propose a comprehensive solution to the problem of inadequate food safety oversight. This sort of thinking cannot cope with emerging food safety issues.
The public boycott of Wei Chuan is the result of long accumulated anger and resentment. But the government cannot look only at the greed of unscrupulous vendors. It must also conduct a comprehensive review of its own administrative shortcomings and failures, in order to prevent any recurrences. The Food Sanitation Management Act was amended six times in seven years. Every time a food safety incident occurred, it was still found inadequate. Clearly the existing system and regulations cannot manage the food industry. Therefore it is imperative to reform the administrative structure, adopt new management tools, and encourage civil servants to act boldly.
In order to prevent greedy manufacturers from taking advantage of the public, heavy penalties are of course essential. But harsh punishments can only be applied after a crime has been committed, as a warning to others. An effective government must devote greater effort to crime prevention. It must apprehend evil-doers through administrative oversight, by means of interagency communications and scientific testing procedures. It must use the power of the executive branch to create a leakproof safety net. This way, when other manufacturers counterfeit foodstuffs they will swiftly be exposed. This will avoid a systemic crisis that affects thousands of vendors and harms society as a whole.
Recent food safety incidents show that a multitude of administrative omissions need addressing. One. The government knew full well that many restaurants and snack bars were generating massive amounts of waste oil. But it never did anything about it. The Wei Chuan Cheng Yi oil factory produced rancid oil. On their own, Tainan snack bars tracked down the "little bees" who sold unlicensed cooking oil. They discovered many levels of resellers. Kuo Lie-cheng's underground factories produced rancid oil that came from a similar channel. The rancid oil from these sources was readily dispersed. The government must establish a collection channel. It must keep track of the recycling industry product chain. This will help restaurant and shops solve their recovery problem. It will also prevent rancid oil from entering the market.
Two. Increase inspection of raw materials at their source, Compare the ratio of raw materials and goods entering and leaving the market. That is often where vendors engage in fraud. Chang Guann and Cheng Yi oil products were adulterated wtih feed oil imported from Hong Kong and Vietnam. Yesterday Namchow Food brand industrial butter was also seized. Whether they were declared at customs has yet to to be determined. As we can see, the best way to uncover food product adulteration is at the source. This is what Yi Mei Foods means when it talks about "traceability and distribution." Agencies charged with food safety, health, customs, finance, taxation, and the food industry should establish channels by which they can share information. They must forbid plants that produce fodder from also producing food for human consumption. This will prevent feed products from making their way into foodstuffs for people. This will increase the transparency of the production line, and reduce the opportunity for businesses to adulterate their products.
Three. The central government has treated inspections as pro forma ritual. Local governments have ignored private citizen's reports of wrongdoing. Together they created a hotbed for black-hearted businessmen. In recent years, numerous food safety incidents have come to light. In one story, an ordinary man became a hero. Plasticizing agents were in use for 30 years when Yang Chi-cheng discovered their misuse in the laboratory. The Datong brand adulterated oil case was broken by prosecutor Chen Chi-wen and Ye Chien-cheng, The Chang Guann case was uncovered after a farmer in Pingtung reported it five times. These heroes never gave up. Meanwhile scores of civil servants cling to their iron rice bowls. They wielded public authority, but were clearly derelict in their duty, They turned a blind eye to wrongdoing. They revealed indifference to the rights of the people. We must motivate public servants, arouse their sense of responsibility and sense of honor. That is the key to restoring community confidence in food safety.
People remember. In recent years, the Ma government vigorously promoted organizational transformation. It consolidated the ministries of the Executive Yuan. But so-called "organizational transformation" failed to promote integration or enhance performance. It merely broke up agency staff and reclassified them, This enormous undertaking failed to improve performance. It failed to improve the quality of public service. In fact, as the handling of recent food safety incidents shows, the effectiveness of the executive branch has not improved as a result of organizational transformation, Instead organization and coordination have become more chaotic and less responsive; In particular, the Ministry of Health and Welfare has been "heavy on medicine, light on food safety." Its ineptitude has become increasingly apparent and regrettable.
The Executive Yuan is establishing a "Food Safety Office." That is essential. But the government must inspire people and ensure performance, If such an office is not ambushed by black-hearted merchants, it will be inundated by an avalanche of grievances. We want to remind the Jiang cabinet: A government that weilds great power but lacks the ability to help people Is shameful. It must make proper use of its public authority, It cannot sit back and do nothing. while plasticizing agents, toxic starches, rancid oil , and god knows what poisonous substances make their way our food, It must plan ahead!
2014.10.16 02:13 am