Sat, Nov 19, 2016 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Food imports put kids at risk

Who would suffer most from food imports from Japanese prefectures affected by the 2011 nuclear disaster? The unequivocal answer is: Our children.

If food products from those regions were allowed into the nation, we would be likely to eat some of those products even if grow our own vegetables and brew our own soy sauce.

The only exception to that would be someone who never eats at a restaurant or a food stall. However, for children, there are constant temptations and opportunities to eat outside, and it would be next to unavoidable.

In addition, there are school lunches, and even if the source of origin of the foods were registered, it would be difficult to avoid.

Food production includes the areas where the food is grown and where it is processed. In soy sauce, for example, even if the soy beans, black beans and salt came from areas other than the five affected prefectures, but were still manufactured in one of those regions, the water used would still be from there and the materials would be exposed to the local polluted air.

Children like to eat ham as well as cheese and other dairy products, products which are frequently included in school lunches. If products from the affected regions are imported into the nation and if Taiwanese food manufacturers use meat, dairy products or additives from these regions in their sausages, ham and cakes, and if these products are included in school lunches, our children will eat them and their health would be put at risk.

It would be very difficult for parents to control this, and it is even difficult for adults to sort things out given the plethora of snacks on the market and the difficulty of controlling and displaying their source of origin. How could we demand that our children recognize and understand this complicated system?

The International Commission on Radiological Protection has said that there is no safe lower limit to substances exposed to radiation, that it might be physically harmful even if the radiation was low, and that children have a particularly low resistance toward radiation. That is a risk the government cannot afford to take.

Lin Jui-chu

Taipei

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