By Ko Lin
Legislative Yuan’s Education and Culture Committee on Monday passed a preliminary amendment to provisions of the Act Governing Food Sanitation that calls for the complete ban of non-organic produce and primary processed foods in school meals across the nation, reports said Monday.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen pointed out that Taiwan imports roughly over 2.3 million tons of soybeans each year, of which 90 percent are genetically modified.
“The notion that schools continue to feed our children with the so-called ‘fodder-grade’ soybeans is bewildering and yet a worrying issue,” she said.
As the prevalence of genetically modified (GM) foods continues to rise, Kuomintang Legislator Lu Hsiu-yen said the children in Taiwan are continually being exposed to high health risks as there are currently no rules stipulating the ban on GM foods in school lunches.
“GM products can pose a threat to children’s reproductive health as well,” Lu said.
Soybeans can be processed in a variety of ways. Common forms of soy include soy milk, tofu, textured vegetable protein (TVP, which is made into a wide variety of vegetarian foods – some of them intended to imitate meat), soybean oil, soy sauce, and many others.
A survey conducted by the Genetic Modification-Free Zone Alliance found that of the 20 or so types of vegetables provided in school meals in a five-day week, four to seven kinds are soybean products.
The revised law, if passed by the legislature, would also require education authorities to work with local agricultural and health inspectors to regularly carry out safety food checks on schools across the nation at least once every semester, reports said.