Fukushima food ban lifted

Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung said food labels would list products imported from the five prefectures

  • By Lee I-chia / Staff Reporter

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday that food products from five Japanese prefectures that were banned after the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster can now be imported into Taiwan, starting yesterday.

On February 8, the Ministry of Health and Welfare issued draft measures for “the types of foods and their production or manufacturing areas in Japan where imports are suspended”, stating that “designated foods imported from Japan must be accompanied by a radioactive examination certificate”. import inspection results,” before opening a public comment period.

“The proposals take effect immediately,” the FDA said.

Photo: ANC

The measures prohibit the import of certain products, instead of banning all products from specific regions; require importers of high-risk food products to present a certificate of origin and a radiological inspection certificate; and requiring food products from the five prefectures to be inspected lot by lot.

About 17,000 imported food items are inspected annually for radioactive contamination, and about 8,000 more items are expected to be inspected after the ban is lifted, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中).

Taiwan has the capacity to conduct radioactive contamination inspections on up to 69,000 imported food products per year, so consumers need not worry, Chen said.

Food labels would show products imported from the five prefectures and inspection certificates would be included for some food items, he said.

When asked if 10 days was too short for public comment, Chen said a referendum was held on the issue in 2018 and millions voted, so it’s not a new issue. .

A sufficient number of public comments have been collected, he added.

The Public Policy Engagement Network’s online platform garnered 36 public comments: 17 in favor of the policy, four against and 15 who offered suggestions or asked questions about the policy, he said.

The policy is based on scientific evidence and international food safety standards, Chen said, adding that public health would be safeguarded.

Asked when the first batch of foodstuffs from the five prefectures arrived, Chen said he didn’t know any details, but had heard that some companies were planning to import the products.

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