The Atomic Energy Council says Taiwan has sufficient inspection capacity in response to worries after the government announced it would allow food imports from five Japanese prefectures affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Check it by scanning.
A handheld radiation detector is used to scan the outer packaging of the food sample. Once it's confirmed there is no contamination, the package is placed inside a machine.
Now you can place it inside the machine.
The machine begins to test whether the food sample contains radioactive materials, including iodine-131, cesium-134, and cesium-137. The entire process takes 20 to 30 minutes. This machine is located at the Atomic Energy Council's Institute of Nuclear Energy Research. At present, 90 percent of the food products requiring testing for radioactive materials are sent here. It can test over 10,000 food samples a year. The institute says it has increased the number of detectors to seven and has sufficient capacity now that the Executive Yuan has lifted the ban on imports of Japanese food products from five areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Huang Ping-chi, Assoc. Researcher, Inst. of Nuclear Energy Research："The Executive Yuan said it estimates that an additional 8,000 to 10,000 samples will need to be tested. The seven radiation detectors here are capable of testing 35,200 samples a year."
At present, there are 10 facilities capable of detecting radiation in food products, including National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University in Taipei, a Taipower lab and Department of Health in New Taipei City, Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology Nuclear Research Institute in Taoyuan, and National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu. The Food and Drug Administration's Central Center for Regional Administration is in charge of testing for central Taiwan, while the south has the AEC's Radiation Monitoring Work Station and Kaohsiung's Department of Health.
Jay Wu, Professor, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University："The current market-end testing capacity of city and county governments may be insufficient."
Tainan's Public Health Bureau said food imports from the five areas will increase significantly in the future, and it hopes local governments can take charge of all the testing.
Voice of Chu Chiao-chun, Division Director, Public Health Bureau, Tainan City："Testing requirements may increase. Right now, we are actively making plans to purchase relevant testing equipment."
The Institute of Nuclear Energy Research currently handles the majority of testing of food imports into Taiwan. Although it has procured additional equipment and increased its staff from 12 to 16, imports are expected to rise significantly once the ban is officially lifted, resulting in greater demand for testing. Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan said his city has one rapid testing machine for food and may obtain more to help with all the testing.