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“1919 One Call is OK” ~ The National Food Safety Hotline Kicks Off

  • Data Source:Ministry of Health and Welfare
  • Created:2015-12-04
  • Last Updated:2017-01-10

“Where should I report adulterated food?” “Where should I seek help for consumer disputes?” “Who can be our adviser when our company is affected by a food safety incident?” Are you still upset by trying to remember consultation hotlines of all the authorities? Here is good news about a thoughtful service – the first cross-ministry food safety hotline has been launched. The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) held a press conference on December 4, where Vice Premier Chang San-cheng of the Executive Yuan, Director Kang Jaw-jou of the Food Safety Office, and the Minister of Health and Welfare Chiang Been-huang jointly announced the official launch of the “1919 National Food Safety Hotline”. Apart from the premiere of the national food safety promotional film, call-ins were accepted on the spot and responded to in the conference by various agencies, including the Consumer Protection Committee, the Council of Agriculture, the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration, and the Food and Drug Administration, in order to demonstrate the work and content of the service hotline. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the MHW, citizens may call “1919” on fixed-line phones or mobile phones for any report, complaint, and enquiry as of today. Immediate service and response will be given, and the national food safety network may be expanded through this open and convenient reporting mechanism. 

The FDA further explained that “1919” represents an integration of the existing service hotlines across various ministries and agencies, including the consumer service line “1950” of the Consumer Protection Committee, Executive Yuan; the customer service hotline “02-4499595” of the Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan; the service right-away hotline “0800-056476” of the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration, the Ministry of Economic Affairs; and the food reporting and food enquiry hotline “02-27878200”of the Food and Drug Administration, MHW. A simple and easy-to-remember number is used to replace all of them, providing a more convenient and unified service channel so that citizens or enterprises that have doubts relating to food safety may get immediate responses and get their problems dealt with immediately, minimizing unnecessary panic. 

The “1919” (yi-tong-jiu-GO, yi-tong-jiu-gou) hotline has this rhyming characteristic in Mandarin Chinese, and means “one call is OK”. For any food safety-related problems, such as “food reporting, food enquiries, consumer issues, small and medium enterprise enquiries, raw and fresh agricultural product enquiries”, one call to the national food safety hotline will get you to the professional and thoughtful service of the relevant ministry/agency by making the appropriate choice in response to the 5 automatic voice message prompts (see Fig. 1). In addition, the establishment of the “1919” hotline represents the profound meaning of the whole nation creating a new era of food safety hand in hand. The hotline may also rapidly link to the central reporting hotline to immediately set in motion the government’s inspection mechanism, so that the harm will not spread, and hence may strengthen the enterprises’ social responsibility through self-management. The FDA stated that citizens’ reporting information would be filed and managed by a designated person, recorded as an audio file, and accepted and registered as confidential material, so that the reporters’ interest is protected. All reported cases will be processed according to the standard procedures; for example, cases involving criminal offences will be reported to the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office, and then forwarded to the District Prosecutors Office for local governments’ processing; for cases not involving criminal offences, the local Public Health Bureaus or departments in charge will be informed for further action; high-risk cases will be tracked closely and the processing progress will be reported regularly. 
The “1919” national food safety hotline is now online, symbolizing the government’s determination to safeguard food safety jointly with the people. It is hoped that by building a nation-wide civil supervision mechanism and protection network mechanism, major food safety incidents will be dealt with in a more timely and thorough manner, and an assuring and secure food environment can be created. The MHW calls for the entire population to make good use of the reporting channel. If any illegal behavior is found, please call the “1919” national food safety hotline or the “1999” local reporting hotline. Let’s work together to safeguard our food safety.