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Bogus labels, radiation fears prompt Taiwan to strengthen rules on Japanese food imports via The Asahi Shimbun

HONG KONG–Taiwan said April 16 it will further tighten regulations on food imports from Japan after forged place-of-origin labels allowed entry of banned products from Fukushima and four other prefectures.

Tokyo has expressed opposition to Taiwan’s new rules, fearing other countries and regions will follow suit.

The Japanese government has already sought an easing of Taiwan’s current ban on food produced or manufactured in Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures over concerns of radiation contamination resulting from the 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

However, the administration of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou had been strongly criticized over a recent series of food safety issues. It decided to take action after it was revealed in March that some food products produced in those five Japanese prefectures had been imported with phony labels saying they were from elsewhere.

Announced by the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration, the stricter regulations will require every food item imported from Japan to carry an official document that proves place of origin by prefecture. Foods from certain regions and specified products will also require documents that show the results of radiation checks.

When the new regulations take effect after 30 days, a huge amount of paperwork on the Japanese side will become necessary.

Taiwan will require documents on the results of radiation checks in three categories: marine products from Tokyo and Miyagi, Iwate and Ehime prefectures; tea from Tokyo and the prefectures of Shizuoka, Aichi and Osaka; and dairy products, baby food, sugar confectioneries and other select products produced in Tokyo and the prefectures of Miyagi and Saitama.

Some of the prefectures listed in the three categories are far from Fukushima Prefecture. However, a Taiwan FDA official said, “We chose the products based on the results of past (radiation) checks.”

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