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Japanese Irradiated Foodstuff Import Case: Premier Mao Instructs Health Ministry to Punish the Negligent

icon2015/03/27
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 Japanese Irradiated Foodstuff Import Case: Premier Mao Instructs Health Ministry to Punish the Negligent

 Sources: All Taipei newspapers

 March 27, 2015

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MHW) last month discovered that over 283 types of food products were imported from Fukushima and other nearby prefectures of Japan, all of which had been affected by the nuclear meltdown caused by a massive tsunami as a result of an earthquake in 2011. The FDA on March 19 ordered that all 283 items be removed from store shelves, but the public strongly criticized the FDA for its loose inspections and slow notifications. 

Premier Mao Chih-kuo (毛治國) yesterday stated that the irradiated food products were initially discovered by border inspectors during spot checks, but the MHW still needed to thoroughly review all its procedures, ranging from inspections, investigations, and notifications of the results, so that the entire process could be expedited. According to media reports, Premier Mao yesterday met with Health Minister Chiang Been-huang after a Cabinet meeting, and demanded that the MHW expedite its review of the matter, as well as calling for “punishments be handed down to any officials responsible” if they should be found to be guilty of negligence. 

FDA Director-General Chiang Yu-mei (姜郁美) yesterday stated that the FDA was currently doing its utmost to handle the mislabeled food products issue, adding that she would take full responsibility for the entire incident. 

However, the FDA Director-General expressed her disagreement with the public’s demand that food products be immediately removed from store shelves when there were some questions over food safety, stressing that the government could issue mandatory orders only after the food products were proven to pose a health risk. 

Health Minister Chiang yesterday delivered a report to the Cabinet on how it was handling the mislabeling of food products from regions in Japan affected by the nuclear power plant meltdown. He stressed that in order to tighten border inspections, food products imported from Japan by firms which were involved in the mislabeling controversy should be inspected batch by batch during border spot checks. Furthermore, he noted that the MHW had already ordered border inspectors to enhance inspections on the place of origin of food products imported from other regions of Japan, adding that the MHW was currently planning to issue a notification that all food products manufactured in Japan should obtain official certificates showing the place of origin.

 

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