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Taiwan joins Global FoodBanking Network

Taiwan yesterday officially became the 24th member of the Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) after a symbolic signing ceremony by Taiwan People's Food Bank Association (TPFBA, 台灣全民食物銀行協會理事長) Chairman David Liu (劉宜民) and CFN chief Jeffrey D. Klein in Taipei.

Liu said in the ceremony that TPFBA hopes to improve and regulate its system to effectively provide more resources to the country's underprivileged and malnourished people.

“We're delighted to join the network and share our resources with other members,” Liu said. The GFN system works with all sectors of society to prevent surplus food from being wasted, instead redirecting it to the underprivileged and the hungry, Liu said. But he warned that such a system is far more complicated to establish than it may seem.

Policies must be enforced and policed to prevent businesses from getting their hands on food donated by companies, as well as near-expiry products from retailers, and then reselling them on the black market, said Legislator Lin Jia-long (林佳龍) at the ceremony. Lin is supervising the passing of the Food Bank amendments.

Lin said the legislative process needs to be more specific in the legal protection of the donors regarding paramount issues such as food safety, hygiene, and liability. “We need to acquire the experience and knowledge of such a system from the GFN to establish a national Food Bank Information Management Networking System to effectively regulate resources and direct them to those places that need it the most,” said Lin.

Klein said it is essential that government policies which benefit food companies be properly communicated to donors so that they will be more inclined to give. Companies also need to work with the right organizations to prevent potential food donations from being destroyed or resold, Klein stated.

“Countries that have tax benefits and legal protections are shown time and time again to be places” where food banks are the most effective. “They are able to move from feeding 'x' amount of people to feeding exponentially more people, which is exciting,” said Klein.

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From second left to second right, President and CEO of The Global FoodBanking Network Jeffrey D. Klein, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Shi Ya-ping (史亞平) and Taiwan People's Food Bank Association (台灣全民食物銀行協會理事長) Chairman David Liu poses for pictures at the Global FoodBanking Network Induction Ceremony in Taiwan, in Taipei, yesterday. (CNA)

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