Japan food exports to Taiwan contain cesium
In the wake of the continuing Fukushima catastrophe, countries such as Korea and China are concerned that contaminated food is being exported from Japan. In a recent report by SimplyInfo.org, data from Taiwan showing food imports (primarily green tea) from Japan have contained radioactive cesium levels below Taiwan’s limit of 370 Bq/kg, but above Japan’s limit of 100 Bq/kg. The monitoring program in Taiwan is spot-checking these imports, so this contaminated tea was discovered in only a fraction of food coming from Japan, meaning additionally contaminated food could have been missed. In addition, Taiwan had already banned food from areas in Japan considered most contaminated, so this food was imported from areas in Japan considered “safe”. Taiwan tested teas that were harvested after the Fukushima catastrophe began. However, in 2011 and 2012, the US Food Drug Administration only tested tea varieties that would have been harvested in 2010, thereby having escaped contamination, making the FDA tea tests completely meaningless.
This unsettling discovery demonstrates that people in other countries are being sold food that is contaminated above Japan’s allowable limit, but below that of the receiving country—a concern that has been expressed time-and-again by Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network (FFAN) of which Beyond Nuclear is a coalition partner. While the allowable limit of radioactive cesium in Japan is 100 Bq/kg, in Taiwan it is 370 Bq/kg, and in the U.S. it is 1200 Bq/kg with no real explanation as to why, say, a pregnant woman in the U.S. should be allowed to ingest 12 times the radioactive poison of a pregnant woman in Japan. These inconsistent limits may not make biological sense, but they do make sense when taken in context of this statement by ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection–the body which generates statements governments rely on to set radiation exposure standards.) “There may be a situation where a sustainable agricultural economy is not possible without placing contaminated food on the market. As such foods will be subject to market forces, this will necessitate an effective communication strategy to overcome the negative reactions from consumers outside the affected areas.” This is the price of the continued use and catastrophic meltdowns of nuclear power.
Japan has filed a complaint with the WTO over Korean Fukushima-related import bans and additional testing requirements, demonstrating that countries trying to protect themselves from contaminated food could be facing international adjudication through the WTO. Japan told the WTO in October 2014 “more than 99 percent of food items were below standard limits, and strict measures prevented the sale or export of any food exceeding those limits.” But since measurement of food is so spotty, both from the importer and exporter, a statement like this is not only meaningless, but deceptive. Further, if every country’s contamination limits are different, in reality, there are no standard limits, no matter what the WTO or Japan contends.
If the Trans-Pacific Partnership is approved, these penalties could get a lot worse (link to Part 1 of a 5 part FFAN series on the TPP and contaminated food from Japan) and could include taxpayer compensation for corporate lost revenue due to such disputes.
But the radioisotope cesium isn’t the only concern. There is also strontium. Strontium-90 is much more difficult to measure than cesium-137. To avoid this inconvenience, strontium is often assumed or calculated to be in a ratio with cesium-137 such that a certain amount of measurable cesium would have a known accompanying smaller amount of strontium-90. Originally for contamination in Japan, strontium content was thought to be 10% of whatever the cesium-137 content was. However, after testing food in Japan, researchers have discovered that the initial ratio of strontium to cesium-137 is more than two times the amount of cesium-137. More importantly, it also means that the various country limits set for radioactive cesium in food may no longer protect from the increased health impact of the strontium-90 that may be lurking in imports from Japan.
Source : Beyond Nuclear
Japan takes South Korea to WTO over Fukushima-related food import restrictions
GENEVA – The central government launched a trade complaint at the World Trade Organization on Thursday to challenge South Korea’s import bans and additional testing requirements for Japanese food after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
South Korea expressed regret at Japan’s action and said its ban on some Japanese seafood was necessary and reflected safety concerns.
Japan says several measures taken by South Korea violate the WTO’s sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) agreement and Seoul has failed to justify its trade restrictions as required, the WTO said in a statement.
Under WTO rules, South Korea has 60 days in which to deal with Japan’s concerns in bilateral talks. After that Japan could ask the WTO to adjudicate on the matter.
“In upcoming talks with Japan, we plan to explain fully that the import ban is necessary for people’s safety, and actively deal with Japan over the issue they raised based upon WTO’s dispute settlement procedures,” South Korea’s trade, agriculture, foreign affairs and other related ministries said in a joint statement.
Details of Japan’s complaint were not immediately available, but Japan has repeatedly raised the issue in committee meetings at the WTO, where it has also voiced concerns about Fukushima-related trade restrictions imposed by Taiwan and China.
Japan’s representative told the WTO’s SPS committee in March that radioactive levels in Japanese food had declined substantially since the nuclear crisis began at Tepco’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant. It noted that the United States, Australia, the European Union, Singapore and Vietnam had all lifted or eased their Fukushima-related restrictions.
“We’ve urged the South Korean government to lift the ban, but we expect it is unlikely to be dropped quickly,” Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said in a statement on Thursday.
South Korea extended its ban on Japanese fishery imports in September 2013 to cover imports from eight Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima.
Last October, the Japanese representative at the WTO committee said contamination levels in more than 99 percent of food items were below standard limits, and strict measures prevented the sale or export of any food exceeding those limits.
South Korea’s representative told the same meeting that its restrictions were in line with WTO rules, but Japan had not provided it with sufficient data for an objective and science-based risk assessment.
Japan’s representative also cited an assessment from the International Atomic Energy Agency in September 2014, which found its measures to deal with contamination were appropriate, according to minutes of the WTO committee.
The average annual value of South Korean imports of Japanese fish and seafood was $96 million in 2012-2014, less than half the average of $213 million in 2006 through 2010, according to data from the International Trade Center in Geneva.
Source : Japan Times
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou says Taiwan’s tightened controls on food imports from Japan will only be temporary.
Taiwanese health authorities had banned food imports from Fukushima and 4 nearby prefectures in the wake of the March 2011 nuclear accident.
But it was revealed in March that some food from the prefectures was being imported to Taiwan. This prompted calls by consumer groups for stricter regulations.
The authorities further tightened their rules on food imports from Japan last Friday. The measures include requiring that all Japanese food products bound for Taiwan carry certificates proving the prefecture of origin.
President Ma stressed to reporters on Monday that priority lies on dispelling consumer fears over the labeling of food products in Japan. He described the measure as being temporary, and added that health authorities are eager to resolve the issue.
Ma expressed his readiness to ease the restrictions after authorities determine how the banned products reached Taiwanese consumers and steps are taken to prevent similar reoccurrences.
The Japanese side has been urging Taiwan to lift the tougher regulations, calling the steps scientifically groundless. Japanese food exporters have expressed the fear that the revised regulations may increase export costs and make them less competitive in Taiwan.
Taiwanese supermarkets have also voiced concern over a possible decline in the volume of Japanese food they sell.
Taiwan to ban all food imports from Japan http://fukushima-diary.com/2015/05/taiwan-to-ban-all-food-imports-from-japan/ Iori Mochizuki From 5/15/2015, Taiwan is going to ban importing all kinds of food from Japan.
Since 311, Taiwan has been banning all the food imports from 5 prefectures around Fukushima and required radiation test on over 800 sorts of food imports. On 4/16/2015, Taiwan announced the further restriction on Japanese food imports, which practically bans all food imports from Japan.
Japanese Ministry Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries states the measures of Taiwan is not based on scientific facts and suggested the possibility to appeal to WTO (World Trade Organization).
Food items from five Japanese prefectures from which imports are banned had made their way into Taiwan with the help of false labels
Japan’s WTO case a bad recipe: officials
Amid reports that Japan could challenge Taiwan’s decision to tighten regulations on imported Japanese foodstuffs at the WTO, Minister of Health and Welfare Chiang Been-huang （蔣丙煌） yesterday said that Taiwan is within its rights to take such an action.
“The new measure will be enforced as scheduled [tomorrow]. Even if Japan plans to file a case with the WTO, our action will stand up to scrutiny,” Chiang said.
“The ministry will continue to communicate with Japan and help it understand why it was necessary to tighten regulations,” he said, adding that the measures “will benefit both sides.”
The new measures were adopted after it was discovered in March that food items from five Japanese prefectures from which imports are banned had made their way into Taiwan with the help of false labels, Chiang said.
Food products from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures have been banned in Taiwan since those areas were suspected of radiation contamination the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster in March 2011.
Under the new laws, importers of Japanese food products would be required to present certificates of origin to prove that the items did not originate in the five prefectures.
For imports such as tea, baby food, and dairy and aquatic products, radiation inspection certificates are also to be required.
How measures are enforced remains to be seen, as the Food and Drug Administration （FDA） had not received any certificates of origin issued by official Japanese agencies or authorized bodies as of yesterday, Chiang said.
Japan has also not supplied a list of its inspection organizations, he said.
The FDA has inspected more than 8,000 shipments of Japanese food so far this year, agency statistics showed.
If related documents are not presented before tomorrow, items such as tea from Shizuoka and some aquatic and dairy products would not be allowed into Taiwan, officials said.
Japanese Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Yoshimasa Hayashi on Tuesday said that Japan has demanded that Taiwan retract its decision, but has yet to see any tangible progress, and that Japan has not ruled out taking the case to the WTO.
Association of East Asian Relations chairman Lee Chia-chin （李嘉進） said that he would advise Japan not to threaten to take the case to the WTO.
With such friendly bilateral relations between the two sides, he said: “We can talk about everything, but taking the case to the WTO could sour bilateral ties.”
Lee added that Taiwan is a major consumer of Japanese agricultural products and can certainly ask Japan to heed its food safety concerns.
“Once Japan has fully investigated the false labeling, Taiwan will certainly feel less pressure to impose stricter regulations,” Lee said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday confirmed that Takeo Hiranuma, a senior Japanese lawmaker and head of the Japan-Republic of China Diet Members’ Consultative Council, recently canceled a scheduled visit to Taiwan, but said that the move was not related to conflict over the planned regulations.
Ministry spokesperson Anna Kao （高安） said that Hiranuma postponed his planned visit because he was concerned that Typhoon Noul might cause travel disruptions on his way home.
Kao made the remarks in response to a report by the Chinese-language Liberty Times （the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper） yesterday saying that Hiranuma was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, but that he canceled the trip after he was told by the ministry that his visit would not change the government’s decision to implement the rules this week.（Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan）
Source: Taipei Times
FOOD FIGHT? With Taipei’s new regulations on Japanese food imports set to go into effect tomorrow, questions regarding the enforcement of such rules remain unanswered
Taiwan suspends entire food import from Japan as of May 15, 2015.
Taiwan has banned food import from 5 prefectures since the accident in 2011.(Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Chiba)
Both countries could not reach an agreement on Taiwan’s tightened restriction over Japanese imported food –
1, origin of product to be labeled on all imported food products
2. radiation test result to be attached to 800 food products in 3 categories (baby foods, seafood, tea) from specified area (like Tokyo or Shizuoka) due to the “HIGH RISK” of contamination – and Taiwan decided to stop importing any food from Japan.
協 議には、日本側から農林水産省や経済産業省の課長級も出席した。台湾は震災以降、福島など５県の食品の輸入を禁じており、（１）日本から出荷される全ての 食品に都道府県別の産地証明（２）東京都や静岡県など特定地域の水産品、茶類、乳幼児食品など３分類８００品目超の「高リスク産品」に放射線検査証明－の 添付をそれぞれ求めている。
Taiwan FDA test resutls 2011-2014
Revised US FDA alert
irresponsible to ship potentially hazardous plutonium and uranium to other countries, possibly causing environmental damage or landing the material in the hands of terrorists.
Opponents of nuclear power are now asking that Taiwan not send nuclear waste overseas.
Opposition Mounts as Taiwan Plans to Ship Nuclear Waste Offshore VOA News, Ralph Jennings May 08, 2015 TAIPEI— Taiwanese officials want to ship the island’s nuclear waste offshore as spent fuel accumulates at two older power plants, but the plan faces opposition from activists and the legislature, putting it on hold.
The two oldest of Taiwan’s three nuclear power plants are running out of space for spent fuel. The build-up of waste prompted government-run Taiwan Power Company to call in February for bids from companies overseas capable of removing the fuel, neutralizing radioactive material and helping to dispose what’s left. Firms in France, Japan, Russia and Britain are technically able to do the work, though none had tendered bids.
A month later the power company retracted its call for bids to process 1,200 bundles of spent fuel because parliament declined to approve a $367 million disposal budget. Taiwan Power spokesman Lin Te-fu said the company will try to persuade legislators again to allocate the money or risk a storage crisis at the island’s first nuclear plant……..
While some legislators believe the overseas disposal cost is too high, leaders in Taiwan’s popular movement against nuclear power cite other risks. They call it irresponsible to ship potentially hazardous plutonium and uranium to other countries, possibly causing environmental damage or landing the material in the hands of terrorists. Taiwan-based Green Citizens Action Alliance researcher Hsu Shih-ya fears the waste would contaminate foreign soil.
Hsu said the kind of disposal method proposed would cause a high level of radiation pollution surrounding the treatment plants. She said her group does not want Taiwan’s pollution to be transferred to other countries, which would be a very immoral matter.
Opposition to Taiwan’s nuclear power crested last year after more than 200,000 activists marched in the streets, leading the government later to call off plans to open a $9.3 billion fourth plant. …..
Opponents of nuclear power are now asking that Taiwan not send nuclear waste overseas. Hsu Hsin-hsin, spokeswoman for the Central Taiwan Antinuclear Action Alliance, said the plan would cost too much without answering calls to end nuclear power……. http://www.voanews.com/content/opposition-mounts-as-taiwan-plans-to-ship-nuclear-waste-offshore/2759529.html
THIS STUNNING HIGH-RISE HYDROPONIC FARM GENERATES RENEWABLE ENERGY AND REPRESENTS NEW HOPE FOR BIG CITIES ACROSS THE GLOBE [ good pics] by Rachel Oakley in Exhale on Friday 8 May 2015 To make Earth a greener place, Aprilli Design Studio got its designers together to create an incredible ecological system known as the Urban Skyfarm, for a site right in the heart of downtown Seoul.
This is not your average eco-friendly building. It’s so much more.
The Urban Skyfarm isn’t office space or apartments, but rather a complete ‘living machine’ that filters water and air, provides vegetables and herbs for the community, and produces renewable energy at the same time.
There are four major components to the Urban Skyfarm: the root, trunk, branch, and leaves.
The root section provides space for a market or public activities. The trunk can be used as a community garden space for residents. The trunk is also divided into eight individual branches (the leaf portions), which each support farming decks which are suspended from each branch by trusses and tension cables. These farming decks are spread out to receive maximum sunlight throughout the day.
Now, if that wasn’t enough, listen to this: the high rise farming system plans to operate on renewable solar and wind energy alone. Meaning, it operates completely on its own energy, and indeed provides energy to the grid…….http://www.techly.com.au/2015/05/08/this-stunning-high-rise-hydroponic-farm-generates-renewable-energy-and-represents-new-hope-for-big-cities-across-the-globe/
Nuclear generator may be retired early: Taipower CNA April 13, 2015 TAIPEI--The state-owned Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower, 台電) warned Sunday that the No. 1 generator at the country’s first nuclear power plant may have to go offline sooner than expected because of limited storage space for spent nuclear fuel. On Feb. 17, Taipower issued an invitation for foreign companies to tender for the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from Taiwan’s first and second nuclear power plants but withdrew the request on April 2 amid a budget controversy.
Taipower had allocated NT$11.257 billion (US$360 million) for the overseas reprocessing of 1,200 clusters of spent fuel rods, 300 of which were to be shipped out by the end of the year.
But lawmakers failed to approve the budget in March, saying that Taipower and the Ministry of Economic Affairs were trying to initiate a bidding process with foreign companies without legislative oversight and were accessing the nation’s nuclear back-end management fund before the establishment of legal guidelines for its use……..
Taipower said that if the fuel storage problem is not resolved in time, the No. 1 generator would have to go offline in mid-2016, ahead of the decommissioning of the first nuclear power plant in New Taipei City, which is scheduled to begin in 2018 and be completed by 2023.
The generator, in fact, has been down since last December due to a component failure, and the Atomic Energy Council has not yet given approval for it to be put back online……..
Several civic groups, including Mom Loves Taiwan and Green Citizens’ Action Alliance, have lodged strong protests against Taipower’s proposed reprocessing of nuclear fuel.
The groups have said is “absurd” to consider sending fuel rods overseas for reprocessing since Taiwan should be phasing out nuclear power.http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2015/04/13/433515/Nuclear-generator.htm
45,000 people join anti-nuclear rallies in Taiwan, Straits Times, MAR 14, 2015 TAIPEI (AFP) – Thousands of people took to the streets in Taiwan on Saturday to call for the island to scrap its use of nuclear energy and to voice opposition to controversial plans to ship nuclear waste abroad, organisers said.
Protesters in central Taipei waved placards and dressed in T-shirts emblazoned with slogans including “Goodbye to nuclear energy” and “We don’t need nuclear power”, just days after Japan marked the fourth anniversary of an undersea earthquake which triggered a massive tsunami and nuclear disaster.
Taiwan’s government has faced growing public pressure over its unpopular nuclear energy facilities……….
We urge the government to reform its energy policy and focus on green energy and saving energy,” said one of the rally’s organisers Tsui Shu-hsin.
“Politicians should listen to the voices of the people… so Taiwan can become nuclear-free.” The government says that Taiwan will run out of energy if it ditches nuclear power, which currently supplies about 20 per cent of the island’s electricity.
The Taipei rally drew around 30,000 people, while two other rallies held simultaneously across the island had a combined turnout of 15,000, according to estimates by organisers. Police estimates were not immediately available.
Organisers were also collecting signatures in a bid to stop a plan by the state-run Taiwan Power Co to process its nuclear waste abroad, which they said was aimed at extending the operations of two plants which are approaching capacity.
The plants, which currently store the spent fuel rods, were launched in 1978 and 1981 and will each be decommissioned once they have been operational for 40 years.
“Taiwan is earthquake-prone like Japan and it is smaller so nuclear facilities are much closer to our homes,” said Wu Bor-chyun, a banker who was living in Japan at the time of the 2011 nuclear accident.
“Nuclear power is not safe and it is very costly. Taiwan should heed the lessons in Japan.”http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/east-asia/story/45000-people-join-anti-nuclear-rallies-taiwan-20150314#sthash.Y0GCWbnB.dpuf
Questions raised over nuclear waste management, Taipei Times By Tang Chia-ling / Staff reporter 9 Mar 15 The Atomic Energy Council (AEC) has detected greater-than-class-C (GTCC) nuclear waste at the nuclear-waste storage facility on Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼) in Taitung County, despite the facility being designed for only low-radioactive materials, raising questions over the management of nuclear waste.
The council originally ordered Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) to introduce new rules on nuclear-waste classification by the end of last year, after it discovered the GTCC nuclear waste on the outlying island.
However, Taipower has failed to meet the deadline due to technical difficulties in compiling a nuclear-waste inventory, so the deadline has been extended, the council said.
According to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission classification system, nuclear waste with a concentration of cesium-137 or strontium-90 greater than 4,600 and 7,000 curies per cubic meter respectively, or with a concentration of nickel-63 greater than 700 curies per cubic meter, is considered GTCC waste.
Citing a report by the Institute of Energy Research, Yang Mu-huo (楊木火), adviser to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀), said GTCC waste is mainly made up of components of decommissioned nuclear reactors and resins derived during the maintenance of nuclear power plants.
Class B nuclear waste is required to be stored in containers for 300 years, while class C waste needs to be stored for 500 years. GTCC waste is generally unacceptable for near-ground storage and requires a special disposal plan, the report shows.
Yang questioned why storage canisters designed for storage of up to 100 years had been used for the waste on Orchid Island and why authorities did not propose a special disposal plan for the GTCC materials……..http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2015/03/09/2003613111
2015-03-01 Taipei, A national anti-nuclear alliance calling for energy reforms is set to hold a protest march around Taiwan on March 14 to mark the fourth anniversary of Japan‘s Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. Stop Nukes Now , formed by 126 anti-nuclear organizations, announced that the march will take place simultaneously in Taipei, Kaohsiung and Tainan to convey people’s hope for the government to abolish nuclear power and reform Taiwan’s energy network.
Activists petition against nuclear-waste reprocessing http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2015/02/25/2003612205 By Tang Chia-ling Anti-nuclear group Mom Loves Taiwan has launched a petition against state-run Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower) call for bids to reprocess about 1,200 bundles of spent fuel rods from the Jinshan and Guosheng nuclear power plants, which Taipower announced on Tuesday last week, one day before Lunar New Year’s Eve.
Taipower has obtained a budget of NT$11.25 billion (US$353 million) to deliver 480 and 720 bundles of spent fuel rods from the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant, in New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門), and the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant, in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里), respectively overseas for reprocessing. The reprocessing is to be implemented over four years, with the first batch scheduled to be shipped by the end of this year.
The campaign, dubbed “Help Taiwan & Save The World!! Stop Taipower’s Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Project,” had gathered about 270 signatures as of press time last night. Many signatories are from Japan, where the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant disaster took place in 2011.
The organization hopes to obtain 500,000 signatures and present them to Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) in the hope that the government will block the project.
Mom Loves Taiwan chief executive Yang Shun-mei (楊順美) said shipping highly radioactive nuclear waste overseas to be reprocessed only means that the waste will be shipped back to Taiwan 20 years later.
She said that nuclear waste reprocessing is a dying industry and that the French-based firm Areva, which is on the brink of bankruptcy, is a case in point.
She said that Avera is reportedly the company to which Taipower plans to send its fuel rods for reprocessing. She said the move would salvage the company from insolvency at the cost of polluting the environment, while bolstering nuclear arms production, and above all, no one would responsible for overseeing the reprocessing operations.
Taiwan Environmental Protection Union member Gloria Hsu (徐光蓉) said that Taipower did not inform the public of the actual cost of nuclear-waste reprocessing and that time and again it has requested more funds from the legislature shortly after its budget has been passed.She added that it did this while constructing the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.
Nuclear backers, critics clash at public meeting, Taipei Times By Sean Lin / Staff reporter 22 Dec 14 Anti-nuclear energy activists clashed with their pro-nuclear counterparts on Saturday at an event in Taipei held to gather public opinions in preparation for next month’s energy conference.
The conference is set to focus on identifying alternative energy sources after the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮) was suspended over widespread protests about the safety risks of the facility.The wide divide among advocates and critics of nuclear energy became clear soon after the northern preliminary meeting began……………
Taoyuan Local Union director-general Pan Chung-cheng (潘忠政) said he suspects that the Atomic Energy Council has mobilized many state-sponsored and pro-nuclear academics and members of related groups to attend the meetings because the public generally opposes nuclear energy.
“The government can work with academics and provide all these scientific facts about the benefits of nuclear power, but at the end of the day, the decision as to whether to adopt nuclear energy should be decided by the public,” he said.
“I do not think they really understand how people feel about nuclear energy and their actions are a violation of democratic values,” he said.http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2014/12/22/2003607328
Oct 31, 2014
TAIPEI – Taiwanese authorities are considering requiring production area certificates for all food imports from Japan and radiation check certificates for some, according to informed sources.
The authorities plan to implement the new policy in 2015 after gauging public opinion.
Following the nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant caused by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Taiwan banned imports of food products from five prefectures, including Ibaraki, Tochigi and Chiba.
In addition, radiation checks have been conducted on vegetables, fruit and fisheries products imported from Japan.
Production area certificates are currently not required.
Under the envisioned policy, Taiwan would require production area certificates for all food imports from Japan and radiation check certificates by the Japanese government for those subject to current radiation checks and certain other products, such as tea and biscuits.
Consumer groups in Taiwan have been calling for stronger regulations on Japanese food imports.
Source: Japan Times
Taipei, Oct. 29 (CNA) Sweets, cookies and teas and tea products imported from Japan into Taiwan will be subject to tests for radioactive substances beginning next year, the acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) director-general said Wednesday.
Chiang Yu-mei said that under the proposed measure, importers of the Japan-made items will not be able to apply for the necessary imported food inspections unless the products come with radiation examination certificates from the Japanese government.
The new measure is expected to take effect next year, Chiang said in response to a post by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen on her Facebook page that criticized the government for not checking Japanese green tea products for radioactive substances.
In the post dated Oct. 29, Lin questioned the surge in green tea drinks imported from Japan into Taiwan over the past three years even though green tea leaves in Japan had tested positive for radioactive substances since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.
“Do you know that since the Fukushima disaster, imports of Japanese green tea have increased dramatically? Do you know that Japanese green tea has often tested positive for radiation?” Lin asked in her post.
In defending Taiwan’s practices on Japanese food imports, the FDA has repeadly stressed that Taiwan suspended imports of food items from five Japanese prefectures near the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant days after the facility suffered a meltdown in March 2011.
The temporary ban, imposed on foods from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures, remains in effect today, the agency said.
In addition, batch-by-batch inspections for radioactive substances have been enforced on eight major types of foods produced in other parts of Japan since then, the FDA said
The tests cover fresh and chilled vegetables and fruits, frozen vegetables and fruits, live and chilled fishery products, frozen fishery products, dairy products, products for infants, mineral water or other types of drinking water, and seaweed, it said.
(By Chen Ching-fang and Elizabeth Hsu)
Source: Focus Taiwan
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