The Japanese media has reported that Taiwan may lift the ban on food products imported from Fukushima and four neighboring cities before March. Kuomintang Legislator Hung Meng-kai said the ban may be lifted even before the Lunar New Year.
The Japanese media has reported that Taiwan may lift the ban on food products imported from Fukushima and four neighboring cities before March. Kuomintang Legislator Hung Meng-kai said that based on the results of the ractopamine pork referendum, it won't be long before the government throws open Taiwan's doors to Fukushima food products. He said it could even happen before the Lunar New Year.
Hung Meng-kai, Legislator (KMT): “If we look at it from the perspective of the Democratic Progressive Party's plans and ideas, there's a real possibility that they could make their big policy announcement before the Lunar New Year. This would also be right before March 11.”
The KMT said the ban was decided by the 7.99 million people that voted for it in a referendum. If the government intends on lifting the ban, then it should hold another referendum. DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei said she hopes the KMT will stop wasting resources.
Chen Ting-fei, Legislator (DPP): “I would like to implore the KMT to stop wasting the country's resources. Don't forget that the four referendums on Dec. 18 (last year) wasted so much energy and caused so much friction.”
How can food safety be ensured if the ban is lifted? At present, the only health departments capable of detecting radiation in food are New Taipei City, Taichung, and Kaohsiung, making the management of these food products extremely challenging.
Chen I-ting, Director, Food & Drug Div., Taipei City Dept. of Health: “There is a division of labor across the country in (radiation) inspections, and border inspects are crucial. The Department of Health will continue spot checks.”
Tsai Wen-che, Secretary, Taichung City Office of Food and Drug Safety: “Taichung purchased gamma ray detectors for food in 2017. They can test for three types of radionuclides, iodine-131, cesium-134, and cesium-137.”
Not all places have inspection equipment, and food safety will have to depend on the joint efforts of the central and local governments. There are serious concerns that Taiwan is not ready to lift the ban.