Tue, Mar 22, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Inspections on Japan imports tightened

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Inspections for traces of radiation in imported products from Japan following leaks at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant will be tightened and extended to products from all prefectures, the Department of Health announced yesterday.

Prior to the announcement, only products from Fukushima Prefecture, Miyagi Prefecture and Ibaraki Prefecture were inspected for radiation, Deputy Minister of Health Hsiao Mei-ling (蕭美玲) said, adding that inspections would be applied to fresh, frozen and processed food products manufactured on or after March 12 to ensure that contaminated food does not enter Taiwan.

The Atomic Energy Council said a total of 179 shipments of dairy products, wine, fruit, beverages, seafood products, curry, Japanese yams, seasonings, candy, fava beans and noodle products had undergone inspections, but none were found to contain radiation exceeding government safety standards.

Hsiao made the remarks at a press conference following the fifth national security meeting in response to the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, which was triggered by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

Any food products containing excessive amounts of radiation would be destroyed under the supervision of inspection officers, Food and Drug Administration Section Chief Tsai Shu-chen (蔡淑貞) said.

Starting today, inspections would go beyond food products and include electronic and electrical products, chemical products and machinery products on a random basis, Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Hwang Jung-chiou (黃重球) said.

The products include domestic appliances, lamps, air conditioners, information and technology products, toys, baby and children’s costumes and sports accessories, among others.

The inspections would be carried out by the Bureau of -Standards, Metrology and -Inspection. As -customs sees a high volume of these goods, the bureau will coordinate with customs officers to determine the scale and priorities of its participation, he said.

In accordance with the Commodity Inspection Act (商品檢驗法), such items are traditionally subject to mandatory safety, health and environmental protection requirements.

Meanwhile, Atomic Energy Council Vice Minister Huang Ching-tung (黃慶東) said radiation would not affect Taiwan in the short term and would come no nearer than 1,000km away from Taiwan by Friday, when weather patterns are expected to bring the radiation closest to Taiwan.

The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station has made progress in restoring its cooling system, dramatically cutting the risk of the radiation spreading, Huang said.

Radiation levels recorded by 30 monitoring stations placed throughout the country remained at a normal 0.2 microsieverts per hour, the council said.

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