In order to safeguard the rights and interests of consumers, the Executive Yuan's Department of Consumer Protection (hereafter referred to as the DCP) conducted a spot-check inspection on both the fresh ingredients and cooked food used to feed patients in 20 hospitals as well as inspections of the hospitals' environmental sanitation. The test results showed that out of 60 samplings of fresh food, 57 were in compliance of regulations, and that three samplings were not in compliance with regulations. Nineteen out of 20 samplings of cooked food complied with regulations while one sampling did not comply with regulations. After the review, the food at all hospitals now complies with regulations. The environmental sanitation inspection results indicated that ten hospitals did not comply with regulations. The DCP has stated that competent authorities at the Ministry of Health and Welfare (hereafter referred to as the MHW) and the Executive Yuan's Council of Agriculture (hereafter referred to as the COA) have been invited to urge the local relevant governments to deal with hospitals that do not comply with regulations.
People that are hospitalized whether out of convenience or due to necessity will more often than not turn to meals provided by the hospital for their sustenance. In order to safeguard the rights and interests of consumers, in 2016 from the latter part of July through till the middle of August, the DCP, in joint collaboration with local government consumer protection officials and Department of Health personnel in Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Hualien County, commissioned the Taiwan branch of global inspection and testing firm SGS to conduct tests on 60 fresh food portions in 20 business operators which provide food for hospitals, and asked local sanitary authorities to conduct tests looking for Escherichia coli (E. coli) in drugs-administered animals, pesticide residues and 20 samplings of cooked foods, as well as inspections of possible E. coli risk to environmental sanitation.
This inspection discovered the following shortcomings (please refer to the table below):
1. Fresh food portions: Out of 60 samplings of fresh food, 57 samples complied with regulations, and 3 samples did not comply with regulations.
1.1 Out of 21 samplings of tested vegetables, two samples exceeded standards for pesticide residues (numbers 1-2 and 11-2).
1.2 Out of 20 samplings of chicken eggs, one sampling was unable to detect the norm for drugs-administered animals that is approved in Europe, the US and Germany (number 19-3).
1.3 Out of 19 samplings of meat products, all samples were in compliance with the regulations.
2. Cooked food portions: Out of 20 samplings of cooked food, 19 complied with regulations, and one sample did not comply with regulations. The sample that did not meet the requirements showed positive for Escherichia coli (E. coli) and surpassed standards for E. coli inspection with a reading of 1100 MPN/g (number 8-4). By the time of the review inspection, all samplings were in full compliance of the regulations.
2. Environmental sanitation inspection portion: Certain circumstances of ten hospital establishments were not in compliance with details of the regulations and standards determined for good food by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. The major deficiencies were violations in floor and ceiling hygiene maintenance, violations in support columns and grounds hygiene maintenance, and violations in the expiry date of foodstuffs and food ingredients.
The DCP has stated that in addition to inspection results which the Ministry of Health and Welfare has already verified to be accurate, the Department of Health has also been requested in accordance with the law to trace the origins of three samplings of food that did not comply with regulations and to conduct an environmental sanitation review.
The inspection results on these samplings have already been submitted to the 49th conference of the Executive Yuan's Consumer Protection Commission. The chairman of the conference has requested that the Ministry of Health and Welfare urge local relevant local government health authorities to put businesses operators which were found to have been in violation of regulations on their inspection lists in the future. Moreover, the local health authorities are to inform hospitals that they are required to cooperate with manufacturers in the implementation of quality management, and that inspections of major retail merchants will be strengthened. Meanwhile, the Council of Agriculture has been requested to strengthen the management of drug use safety.