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Official urges no panic over Japanese food

Official urges no panic over Japanese food

Taipei, March 30 (CNA) Taiwan's nuclear safety regulator urged the public Monday not to panic over Japanese food products amid ongoing tests for radioactivity, saying that they do not pose a health hazard. Based on test results for radioactivity thus far, "Japanese food products pose no greater health risks than Taiwan-made products," Huang Ching-tung, deputy head of the Atomic Energy Council, said in a report to the Legislature. The council has tested over 400 products from Japanese prefectures affected by the 2011 nuclear meltdown that made their way into Taiwan with their labels of place of origin changed, and all of them have tested negative for radioactivity, he said. Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration imposed a ban on food products from the prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant melted down in March 2011. Even with products that tested positive, they still fell within permissible levels of radioactivity, he added. From March to December in 2011, 65 Japanese food products were found to contain radioactive residue, with the number rising to 75 in 2012. However, the number has since steadily fallen, with 52 products testing positive for radioactivity in 2013 and 13 in 2014, Huang noted, adding that international nuclear safety monitoring bodies have been reporting a declining impact from the meltdown. The council has been checking nine major categories of Japanese food products from outside the affected areas since the nuclear disaster, Huang said. All 66,000 items checked as of February have passed the council's tests, he said. Lawmakers raised concerns as to whether the government will lift its ban on Japanese food imports based on the test results, which show them to be clear of radioactive residue. Minister of Health and Welfare Chiang Been-huang gave his reassurance that the government will not lift the ban as long as the public has concerns over Japanese goods, and such a move will only be made after discussions with scholars and thorough communication with the public. (By Chen Ching-fang and Scully Hsiao)


Updated : 2021-09-29 05:01 GMT+08:00