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Most foods sneaked into Taiwan from Japan radiation-free

Most foods sneaked into Taiwan from Japan radiation-free

Taipei, March 25 (CNA) Tests completed on 193 of 283 food items sneaked into Taiwan from Japanese areas contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 showed no traces of radioactive substances, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Wednesday. The 283 products, which should not have entered Taiwan because of a ban on food from the nuclear-affected Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gumma and Chiba, were seized on market shelves after FDA inspectors discovered some Japanese imports carrying false labels during customs checks last month. "No radiation was detected," said FDA Director-General Chiang Yu-mei (???), but she stressed that the result did not mean food items from the five prefectures affected by radioactive fallout from the nuclear disaster could be imported to Taiwan. "The rules have been broken whether or not radioactive substances were detected." Recalls of all the problematic products -- the number of which was increased to 294 later Wednesday -- were underway and were to be completed by March 27 at midnight, Chiang said. The Atomic Energy Commission, which conducted the tests, said examinations of the other 90 items should be completed by the end of Wednesday. The illegal imports were exposed after the FDA investigated allegations by lawmakers that food items such as soy sauce, cookies, instant noodles, and condiments from the five affected Japanese prefectures had been brought into Taiwan. Traders allegedly covered up labels showing the location of each food product's manufacturer with stickers in Chinese changing the point of origin to Tokyo, Osaka, Hokkaido and even places in the United States. Banned food products were found in major local supermarkets, including AMart (??), Wellcome (??) and Shin Kong Mitsukoshi (????). At the Legislature on Wednesday, opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Lin Shu-fen (???) demanded that the Ministry of Health and Welfare carry out a policy it announced last October to monitor imports of all Japanese food items. The policy required foods from outside the five questionable prefectures to have official certification showing they are free of radioactive substances and were manufactured in the places stated on their labels. Lin accused the ministry of delaying its implementation of the plan because of pressure from Japanese congressmen and the Interchange Office, which represents Japan's interests in Taiwan. She also said that not only was the ministry unwilling to request guarantees from Japan, it was studying the feasibility of lifting the ban on products from the five Japanese prefectures. Health Minister Chiang Been-huang (???) acknowledged that such a study was being conducted at Japan's request. As for the certification requirement for imported Japanese foods, FDA chief Chiang said the measure will "definitely" begin being enforced in June. (By Lung Pei-ning, Chen Ching-fang and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-09-17 03:28 GMT+08:00