Thu, Oct 30, 2014 - Page 4 News List

FDA proposes radiation tests for Japanese snacks

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Starting next year, Japanese companies intending to import teas, candies or cookies may have to submit a radiation detection report issued by a local authority, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said yesterday.

“The administration on Tuesday published a draft regulation requiring importers of tea products, snacks, cookies and grain beverages to provide not only a country of origin certificate, but also a radiation assessment report issued by the Japanese government,” agency interim Director-General Chiang Yu-mei (姜郁美) said.

Chiang said public opinion on the proposal will be sought over the next 60 days and the measure is expected to be implemented early next year if no objections are raised.

At present, only vegetable, fruit, aquatic products, baby formula, dairy products and water imported from Japan require a radiation detection report, with the exception of all food products from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures, which have been banned since the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster in March 2011.

Chiang’s announcement came one day after Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) raised questions on Facebook about the FDA’s regulations on Japanese food imports since the disaster.

Lin wrote that she had taken members of a non-governmental organization to inspect the agency’s border examinations and Keelung Customs last month.

“I learned two things from the trip. Even though the government has suspended food product imports from the five Japanese prefectures, it believes whatever importers put in the ‘place of origin’ column,” Lin said.

Second, although in theory eight types of foodstuffs from Japan are subjected to batch-by-batch inspections, the FDA only conducts examinations on a small portion of each batch of imports, Lin said.

“In reality, it is more of a batch-by-batch random examination,” she said.

Lin also questioned Uni-President Group’s decision to start selling a wide range of Japanese tea products in the past three years.

“Do you know that following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the amount of Japanese tea leaves imported to Taiwan has greatly increased, not decreased?” Lin said.

Uni-President is the nation’s largest food conglomerate. It has also been caught up in the latest tainted oil scandal.

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