Alliance Hopes to Expand Food Safety Education in Schools

 

A government-commissioned council for food safety stated it plans to expand food safety education to more schools in Taiwan beginning next year to raise awareness among children and youth.

The group, Food Safety Protection Defense Alliance, has organized lectures and activities in over 100 elementary and junior high schools around Taiwan since June, reaching some 12,000 students, according to Chen Jiun-rong, head of the alliance and chair of Taipei Medical University’s School of Nutrition and Health Sciences.

The alliance’s mission has become more important since problems with edible oil producers rocked Taiwan starting in September of this year.

Chen said they had added coursework to teach children how to spot bad oil based on cues such as excessive bubbles or unusually dark colors.

Launched by the Food and Drug Administration in partnership with Taipei Medical University, the alliance has recruited 960 college students from food and nutrition departments at 13 Taiwanese universities.

Together, they aim to help young children gain a better understanding of how to read food labels and make healthier eating choices.

Liaw Yi-ching, a 23-year-old student from Taipei Medical University’s School of Nutrition and Health Services, said she has helped give lectures in three schools so far, teaching younger students how to read food labels, wash their hands properly, preserve food, and avoid food poisoning.

She believes the recent series of problematic foods in Taiwan can be reduced by education and “instilling the importance of morality and empathy in children from a young age.”

Acting FDA chief Chiang Yu-mei said that university students could be of great help in promoting better eating and sanitation.

“There are 37 schools and 139 departments offering food and nutrition studies and 20,000 majoring in the field,” she said. “We hope to train these students next year to become solid forces for promoting food safety education among the public,”

The alliance currently has five centers responsible for matters such as curriculum design and plans to increase that number to eight next year.

Chen expects to expand the number of participating universities from 13 to 30 and hopes to work with restaurants and food shops near campuses to provide healthier food.

“There is a limit to what the government can do,” Chen noted, suggesting university students with relevant backgrounds could become more and more important in helping society guard against future food scares.

Liaw too urged people to join their efforts, “We can no longer depend solely on the government to safeguard our food.”

 

Source: Focus Taiwan