FDA to tighten inspections after banned products found


Source : The China Post

By Sun Hsin Hsuan, The China Post
December 13, 2016, 12:22 am TWN

Food products imported from Japan will be inspected individually, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Monday, following the discovery of banned products in the market.

Radiation inspections at customs will be tightened to include small packages of sauce that are often sold along with larger food items, FDA Director-General Chiang Yu-mei (姜郁美) said on Monday.

Food products from Fukushima, Gunma, Chiba, Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures were banned in Taiwan over fears of radiation contamination in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukishima Daiichi nuclear power plant meltdown.

Small packages of soy sauce originating from Ibaraki were recently discovered in Taiwan, leading to an emergency recall of these products by the FDA on Sunday. The packets of soy sauce were sold as part of a set that contained a fermented soybean product, which came from another region.

Despite the Atomic Energy Council’s assertions that the soy sauce imported from Ibaraki was not contaminated, concerns about the FDA’s inability to ensure food safety made headlines in the news.

Package-by-package Inspections

Chiang said on Monday that the FDA had increased inspection standards at customs starting in November by examining every batch of imports.

Starting Monday, the FDA will increase the level of scrutiny on products with more complex packaging and will reject all products that contain components — such as soy sauce — that were manufactured in the five specified regions.

Those without labels will be asked for proof of their place of origin, Chiang said.

Food importers must check their own products and report to the FDA if any are found to have originated from nuclear-affected regions, Chiang said. Importers are subject to fines of between NT$30,000 and NT$3 million for selling banned food items.

The FDA launched a massive investigation on Monday, deploying inspectors from 22 health bureaus across the country to examine Japanese food products currently on the market.

The results of the investigation should be available within one week, Chiang said.