Ja­pan fruit was 2013’s most se­vere food safety breach

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY STEPHANIE CHAO

The Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FDA, ) an­nounced re­sults for its re­view of im­ported food in 2013 yes­ter­day, cit­ing im­ported fruit from Ja­pan tainted with pes­ti­cide residue as the most com­mon prod­uct to breach food safety stan­dards and that the na­tion has seen an ex­plo­sion of im­ports in re­cent years.

The top three coun­tries ex­port­ing food that breaches stan­dards to Tai­wan are Ja­pan, China and the U.S. Ja­pan’s fresh frozen fruits and China’s phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal/food prod- ucts rank the high­est for the amount of food found not to meet prod­uct safety stan­dards.

Statis­tics show that while Ja­pan has a lower per­cent­age of im­ports that breach food safety stan­dards (0.7 per­cent) — com­pared with main­land China (3.2 per­cent), the U.S. (1.7 per­cent) and Viet­nam (3.7 per­cent) — its im­ported fruit is more likely to have ex­ceeded lev­els of pes­ti­cide residue. Tea leaves and fish prod­ucts are other prod­ucts that are of­ten found to be in breach of food safety laws.

Ja­pan to­taled 123 batches of food in breach of safety stan­dards, in­clud­ing 45 batches of frozen fruits, 38 batches of tea, 14 batches of pack­aged foods, 13 batches of frozen veg­eta­bles and four batches of shell­fish pro­duce.

China to­taled 94 batches of tainted goods, which in­cluded phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal/food prod­ucts ac­count­ing for 33 batches and 20 for frozen goods. The U.S. had 84 batches, with frozen fruits and ed­i­ble prepa­ra­tions rank­ing the most com­mon un­qual­i­fied goods.

In re­sponse to leg­is­la­tors’ con­cern over reg­u­la­tory mea­sures for the re­cent Ja­panese food prod­uct scan­dal last week, Pan Chih-kuan ( ), direc­tor of the FDA’s Food Safety Di­vi­sion said that the FDA will dis­cuss po­ten­tial co­op­er­a­tion schemes with Ja­pan and will at­tempt to meet the Leg­isla­tive Yuan’s de­mands.

Leg­is­la­tors have re­quested the FDA draft a pro­posal that reg­u­lates Ja­panese prod­ucts ex­port­ing to Tai­wan, call­ing on them to have to in­clude of­fi­cial ori­gin la­bels and ra­di­a­tion test cer­tifi­cates within two weeks.

High-Risk Goods: FDA

Pro­vi­sion­ally

pre­served

veg- eta­bles are ranked as the most fre­quent prod­uct to breach food safety stan­dards, at 20 per­cent. Other food im­ports in­clude: spices at 14.4 per­cent, nat­u­ral col­or­ings at 10 per­cent, dried veg­eta­bles at 7.6 per­cent, and other phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal/food such as an­gel­ica root, gouqi at 6.6 per­cent. The FDA re­ported that th­ese goods have been listed as high-risk items, and will step up its in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

The FDA also said that 1.4 per­cent of foods were found to have breached the safety stan­dards among 616,286 food and re­lated prod­ucts dur­ing last year’s bor­der in­spec­tions, which is at least two times more than the num­bers in 2013.

Drug and Chem­i­cal Residue

Most Com­mon

Pan said pes­ti­cide residue in fruit and veg­eta­bles, ve­teri­nary drugs in meat and fish­ery prod­ucts, and preser­va­tives and bleach residue in pack­aged prod­ucts are the most com­mon rea­sons for prod­ucts to have breached hy­giene reg­u­la­tions.

The prod­ucts

fail­ing

to meet Tai­wan’s reg­u­la­tions have been re­turned or de­stroyed, and never en­tered Tai­wan’s mar­ket, said Pan.

Cof­fee Lovers Re­joice

Au­thor­i­ties said that 520 cof­fee items were clear of any prob­lems.

The FDA also re­ported that im­ported goods have seen a dra­matic rise in the last five years. While Tai­wan only main­tains a 3-per­cent food self-suf­fi­ciency ra­tio, the na­tion im­ports prod­ucts from 162 coun­tries, out of 193 coun­tries world­wide.

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