Tai­wan in­sists on la­bel­ing rules for Ja­pan’s food im­ports

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Tai­wan will en­force as sched­uled a new di­rec­tive that re­quires im­ported food from Ja­pan be la­beled with their place of ori­gin and proof they are ra­di­a­tion free, Vice Health Min­is­ter Shiu Ming-neng said.

The di­rec­tive has been is­sued and it’s not pos­si­ble to re­scind it, Hsu told re­porters af­ter meet­ing with three vis­it­ing Ja­panese Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries Min­istry of­fi­cials.

The Ja­panese of­fi­cials asked dur­ing the meet­ing for Tai­wan to re­move the re­quire­ment and of­fer more as­sess­ment data re­lated to ra­di­a­tion risks, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Health and Wel­fare.

But Hsu said the new di­rec­tive will be en­forced start­ing on May 15 as sched­uled. He added that the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FDA) is com­pil­ing sci­en­tific re­search and risk as­sess­ments on ra­di­a­tion safety.

Asked if the mea­sure will af­fect trade, Hsu said the is­sue will be han­dled by the min­istries of for­eign and eco­nomic af­fairs.

The di­rec­tive was made af­ter Ja­panese food prod­ucts from ar­eas af­fected by the Fukushima nu­clear dis­as­ter in 2011 were found last month sold in lo­cal su­per­mar­kets de­spite a ban.

The FDA im­posed a ban on food prod­ucts from the Ja­panese pre­fec­tures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba af­ter the Fukushima Dai­ichi nu­clear power plant melted down in March 2011 and con­tam­i­nated parts of those re­gions with ra­dioac­tive sub­stances.

Tai­wan’s au­thor­i­ties found that the food im­ports from those ar­eas made their way into Tai­wan af­ter in­for­ma­tion on the pack­ag­ing in­di­cat­ing their place of ori­gin were cov­ered up by Chi­nese-lan­guage stick­ers show­ing a dif­fer­ent place of ori­gin.

GMO Wheat not Al­lowed in

Tai­wan: FDA

The Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra- tion dis­missed con­cerns of ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied wheat grown in the United States en­ter­ing Tai­wan’s mar­ket, say­ing Tai­wan bans im­ports of such wheat.

Tai­wan al­lows ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied soy­beans and corn but does not al­low im­ports of ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied wheat, said Lee Wanchen, a sec­tion chief at the FDA.

Dur­ing a re­cent check on pack­aged food prod­ucts, the FDA did not find any ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied wheat on the lo­cal mar­ket, Lee added.

The state­ment was made as bak­eries and wheat mills face doubts from lo­cal cus­tomers that wheat from the U.S. might be ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied and are re­ceiv­ing re­quests to pur­chase wheat from Ja­pan and Canada.

Con­cerns about U.S. wheat first arose in 2013 when GMO wheat tested by U.S. seed com­pany Mon­santo Co. with­out ap­proval from U.S. reg­u­la­tors con­tam­i­nated a regular wheat farm in Ore­gon, prompt­ing Ja­pan to sus­pend some wheat im­ports.

The U. S. Wheat As­so­ciates’ Tai­wan of­fice dis­missed the sus­pi­cions, say­ing the U.S. does not pro­duce ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied wheat.

The U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture has worked to re­move any ge­net­i­cally en­gi­neered wheat that re­mained at the site of Mon­santo’s ex­per­i­ment, which is no longer used by the com­pany, said Ron Lu, head of the as­so­ci­a­tion’s Tai­wan of­fice.

It has also con­ducted a check on wheat prod­ucts in the coun­try and found that none of them had been con­tam­i­nated by Mon­santo’s ge­net­i­cally en­gi­neered wheat, Lu said.

In ad­di­tion, all U.S-grown wheat sold to Tai­wan comes with cer­tifi­cates ver­i­fy­ing that it is non-GMO, he said.

U.S.-sourced wheat ac­counts for 80 per­cent of Tai­wan’s to­tal wheat im­ports. An­other 18 per­cent of its wheat im­ports come from Australia and the re­main­ing 2 per­cent come from Canada.

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