Taiwan’s Atomic Energy Council Establishes First Food Testing Lab for Japanese Food Imports

Taiwan communicates on the control of foodstuffs from Japan. I note that these are the same limits, concerning Cesium, in the European Union … (according to the last regulation dated 13/07/2017).
In the EU, it’s been a long time since Iodine 131 is no longer controlled.
The article does not mention “other foodstuffs”, for which the maximum import limit in the EU is 100 Bq / kg.

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AEC lab to test food imports for radiation

The AEC said the new facility can test up to 1,700 samples per month and would run tests on food samples sent by customs offices in northern Taiwan

The Atomic Energy Council (AEC) yesterday announced that it has established the nation’s first food testing laboratory for radioactive contamination in response to calls from civic groups following last year’s public hearings on the issue of Japanese food imports.

The facility is the first of its kind to obtain certification from the Taiwan Accreditation Foundation (TAF), AEC Department of Radiation Protection Director-General Liu Wen-hsi (劉文熙) said.

The council had already been testing food products for radiation, but the new laboratory would be a separate branch entirely dedicated to testing food, Liu said.

Last year, the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s plan to lift a ban on food imports from Japan’s Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures led to a public outcry, amid fears that food from these areas were affected by the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster in March 2011.

At the public hearings, many experts and civic groups questioned the capability of the nation’s ability to detect radioactive contamination in food products.

The council said it receives about 1,400 food samples from the ministry each month and that the new laboratory would be able test up to 1,700 samples per month.

The council received 2,200 food samples in a single month following the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster, but the monthly average of food samples received for the rest of 2011 was about 1,600, Liu said.

The number of samples sent to the council has not increased significantly over the past few years, the council added.

The new laboratory in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) is equipped with five high-purity germanium detectors and employs 12 specialists, increasing resources by one detector and two staff members, Liu said, adding that the laboratory will be testing samples sent by the customs offices in northern Taiwan.

A smaller laboratory run by the council in Kaohsiung tests samples from Taichung and Kaohsiung ports, and is waiting for TAF certification for food testing, he added.

The ministry has determined the maximum allowable level of radioactive residue in foods for three isotopes — iodine-131, cesium-134 and cesium-137 — in the Standards for the Tolerance of Atomic Dust and Radioactivity Contamination in Foods (食品中原子塵或放射能污染容許量標準).

For dairy products and baby foods, the limit is set at 55 becquerels (Bq) of iodine-131, 50Bq of cesium-134 and 50Bq of cesium-137 per kilogram of food, while beverages and bottled water can contain up to 100Bq of iodine-131, 10Bq of cesium-134 or 10Bq of cesium-137 per liter.

As iodine-131 and cesium-134 have shorter half lives, the council is more concerned with cesium-137 contamination in food imported from Japan, Liu said.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2017/08/01/2003675708

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Italian businessman dumped North Korean nuclear waste in ocean near Taiwan

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An Italian businessman dumped radioactive nuclear waste in the ocean near Taiwan in the 1990s, according to documents from an Italian intelligence service declassified Wednesday.

The information was contained in 61 documents from SISMI, an Italian military intelligence department, which were submitted to an Italian parliamentary investigation commission, according to the Italian media.

The reports named Giorgio Comerio as a businessman who made a fortune by sending ships loaded with nuclear and other dangerous materials to the bottom of the sea in the Mediterranean and near Somalia and Taiwan.

Comerio began collaborating closely with the government of North Korea around 1995, the documents said. In return for the payment of US$227 million (NT$7 billion), he disposed of 200,000 barrels of radioactive waste, whose final resting place must be the ocean near Taiwan, according to SISMI.

Taiwanese environmental groups demanded the government launch an investigation of its own into the allegations and conduct tests to determine whether the dumping of waste had impacted Taiwan’s environment and the condition of the ocean. The government should also find out the precise location where the Italian company dumped the waste, activists said. The Cabinet’s Atomic Energy Council replied it was not aware of the practice described in the SISMI documents.

Between 1989 and 1995, an estimated 90 ships carrying nuclear waste were sunk in the Mediterranean, and as recently as 2003, the intelligence service presented a report to the Italian government saying that two ships loaded with industrial waste and other toxic materials had arrived in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

Two reporters from Italian state broadcasting network RAI who were investigating similar deals were killed in Somalia, leading to parliamentarians pressuring the government to release more documents about the transportation of dangerous waste products.

http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3092135

Taiwan revises law to become nuclear-free society by 2025

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Operations of two reactors at the No. 4 nuclear power plant in New Taipei City have been put on hold.

 

TAIPEI–Taiwan enacted a revised law on Jan. 11 to phase out nuclear power generation by 2025 and increase renewables, a considerable challenge for this resource-poor island.

Departure from nuclear power was a campaign pledge of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who assumed office in May.

The bill met with no strong opposition during deliberations at the Legislative Yuan, or the Taiwanese parliament.

The legislation aims to raise the share of renewables, such as solar or wind power, from the current 4 percent to 20 percent of total output in 2025 by liberalizing the renewable energy market.

Electricity generated at three nuclear power stations account for about 14 percent of Taiwan’s electricity output. Operations have been frozen at a fourth nuclear power plant because of public outcry against nuclear power following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The industrial sector and others have raised concerns about possible fluctuations in the power supply or a spike in utility rates in the coming years.

Another focal point of debate was disposal of radioactive waste kept at a facility in an outlying island.

The Executive Yuan, the equivalent of Japan’s Cabinet, sponsored the bill to revise the electricity utilities industry law to pave the way for a nuclear-free society.

Under the revised law, Taiwan Power Co., operator of all nuclear power plants in Taiwan, will be spun off into two companies: one in charge of power generation and the other overseeing electricity distribution.

All six reactors in Taiwan will reach their 40-year operation limit by May 2025. The No. 1 reactor at the No. 1 nuclear power plant will be the first to hit the limit, in December 2018.

The revised law ruled out the possibility of extending the lives of the reactors, stating that all reactors will end their operations by 2025.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201701120036.html

‘Nuke food’ already here

FDA announced a national recall of a fermented soybean product on Sunday, after discovering that the product included a package of soy sauce originating from a “radiation-affected” region of Japan.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a national recall of a fermented soybean product on Sunday, after discovering that the product included a small package of soy sauce originating from a radiation-affected region of Japan.

Radiation detection tests conducted by the Atomic Energy Council showed that the soy sauce had not been contaminated by nuclear substances, the FDA said.

But the discovery of the Ibaraki-sourced soy sauce had caught authorities off guard, highlighting a loophole in Taiwan’s five-year ban on food imports from five Japanese prefectures.

Food products from Fukushima, Gunma, Chiba, Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures are banned over fears they may be contaminated with radioactive substances, following the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011.

During a press conference on Sunday, FDA officials said they had asked all national retailers to recall products containing the soy sauce as a preventative measure. Any business that chose to keep the product in the market would be subject to a maximum NT$3 million penalty, health authorities said.

Officials said the soy sauce had been sold by food importer Taicrown Corporation (太冠國際) to downstream distributors including Japanese restaurant chain Yoshinoya, RT-Mart, shopping malls SOGO, Shinkong Mitsukoshi and Far Eastern.

The recalled fermented soybean product, called natto, had been manufactured by a Japanese company called KAJINOYA, FDA official Wu Ming-mei (吳明美) said.

Wu said the importer was in the process of collecting related information and would provide further details to the FDA before 5 p.m. on Monday.

According to media, Yoshinoya said its supplier provided safety certification for its imports, but that it had decided to pull the product from their menus regardless.

SOGO and Shinkong Mitsukoshi both said Taicrown Corporation had yet to offer any explanations and both offered refunds to customers that had purchased the product.

RT-Mart also issued a statement Sunday, stressing it had removed the natto product from its shelves last Friday after finding it suspicious during internal product inspections earlier that day.

Five other natto products imported by Taicrown have also been removed, and customers may receive refunds if they have any concerns, said RT-Mart.

The current administration is planning to gradually relax restrictions on Japanese food imports from the Fukushima nuclear disaster zones, but faced violent protests at public hearings last month.

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/detail.asp?id=486491&grp=%27B%27

Taiwan: Food products from Japanese areas are not on sale

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Food products from Japanese areas are not on sale: agency

The Food and Drug Administration yesterday rejected as rumors claims that food products produced in Japanese prefectures surrounding the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant can be purchased in Taiwan, urging the public not to buy food products without Chinese-language labels.

The Council of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health and Welfare last month presented a two-stage plan to ease a ban on food imports, which was imposed in March 2011, from five Japanese prefectures near the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Taichung City Councilor Tuan Wei-yu (段緯宇) last week said that wine and snacks from the five prefectures could be purchased at department stores.

However, the Taichung Department of Health said that alcoholic products from the five prefectures can be imported if they have passed batch-by-batch radiation examinations, while the snacks Tuan used as examples were made in other prefectures.

One rumor that has recently spread across social networks claims that Japanese food products labeled as being made in Tokyo that have a “K” appended to the expiration date on their packaging are actually from Fukushima Prefecture.

The administration issued a statement clarifying that letters appended to expiration dates are in fact codes representing different areas for different food companies.

Consumers can check Japanese companies’ official Web sites to verify where products were made, the agency said, adding that, for example, an “A” appended to the expiration date on the packaging of products by Nissin Foods means they were made in Toride, Ibaraki Prefecture.

The administration urged people to only buy food products with Chinese-language labels, not believe everything they read online — especially information without reliable sources of scientific evidence — and avoid spreading false information.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2016/12/04/2003660555

 

Fukushima Food Ban in Taiwan Continued

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Taiwan-Japan trade talks conclude with signing of two memorandums

Taipei, Nov. 30 (CNA) Annual trade and economic talks between Taiwan and Japan concluded in Taipei Wednesday, with the two sides signing two cooperation memorandums on product safety and language education.

Chiou I-jen (邱義仁), head of the Taiwan delegation and president of the Association of East Asian Relations (AEAR), and his Japanese counterpart, Japan Interchange Association Chairman Mitsuo Ohashi, signed the notes stipulating that the two countries will work together in the promotion of exchanges in the two areas.

Chiou and Ohashi left the venue without speaking to the press after the signing ceremony, but they agreed to be photographed.

Outside the venue, several dozen activists staged a protest against radiation-contaminated food products. The protest came after Ohashi urged Taiwan at the opening of the annual talks a day earlier to lift a ban on food products from five radiation-affected Japanese prefectures.

Asked if Japan had asked Taiwan to ease the ban during the two-day trade and economic meeting, AEAR Deputy Secretary-General Tsai Wei-kan (蔡偉淦) confirmed in a press conference held after the event that the Japanese side brought up the request, as had been expected.

However, the Taiwanese delegates expressed hope for understanding that there are still disputes over the issue, and that they would not discuss the issue during the annual talks, since it was not on the agenda, Tsai said.

Taiwan has banned imports of food products from five prefectures in Japan — Fukushima, Gunma, Chiba, Ibaraki and Tochigi — that were contaminated with radiation following the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011, a catastrophe triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

After Taiwan’s new government, inaugurated in May, revealed recently that it was considering lifting the ban on food from all of those prefectures except Fukushima, the idea has received strong opposition.

Economics Minister Lee Chih-kung (李世光) confirmed Wednesday that the controversial issue of Japanese food imports was not on the agenda of the 41st Taiwan-Japan Trade and Economic Meeting.

“It has been the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ consistent stance that no compromise can be made in the people’s welfare in the area of food safety,” Lee told the press.

He also agreed that all food regulations should meet international regulations and scientific rules.

Meanwhile, elaborating upon what was discussed during the meeting, Tsai said that Taiwan, as usual, asked Japan to co-sign an economic partnership agreement (EPA).

Such a pact is not just one that touches on simply economic problems, Tsai said, but involves political considerations.

Nevertheless, the Japanese side said its stance in establishing a comprehensive trade and investment relationship with Taiwan has not changed, he went on.

As for a request by Taiwan for Japan to open its doors to five more kinds of Taiwan-grown fruit, Tsai said the Japanese side requires more data and relevant documents.

At Wednesday’s press conference, Liu Ming-tang (劉明堂), head of the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection, said the cooperation memorandum on product safety mainly focuses on electronic and electrical products, as well as machinery.

It will help reduce safety risks, allowing consumers to enjoy a higher level of safety protection, Liu said.

On the language education memorandum, the Taiwanese delegation said that under the pact, personnel exchanges will be conducted in the hope of upgrading the quality of language and culture education on both sides.

The Taiwan-Japan trade and economic meeting has been the only official platform for Taiwanese and Japanese officials to discuss issues of mutual concern since diplomatic relations between the two countries were severed in 1972. It has been held annually since 1976.

http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aeco/201611300017.aspx

Taiwan Continued Protest Against Food Imports from Japan

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Hundreds protest Fukushima imports

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Hundreds on Thursday called for the president and premier to resign, accusing the ruling party of “selling out Taiwan” and “poisoning our children” in its push to ease a ban on food imports from Japan’s radiation-affected regions.

Protesters organized by the Kuomintang (KMT) demonstrated in front of the Executive Yuan early Thursday, as party councilors from across the country took turns addressing the crowd.

“We are humans, and humans don’t eat radiation-contaminated food,” the crowd chanted with Tainan City Councilor Hsieh Lung-chieh (謝龍介), who accused that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of betraying its promise to safeguard Taiwan’s food safety.

“We all remember clearly which party strongly protested against nuclear power in the past, but who’s about to feed poisonous food to our children now!” Hsieh said.

Taipei City Councilor Wang Hsin-yi (王欣儀) said the protest was not about political issues but was instead “a matter of life and death.”

Taipei City Councilor Ying Hsiao-wei (應曉薇) introduced a 3-year-old girl carried by an elderly woman, and urged the crowd to “fight the government to defend public health.”

Clash with Police

Hsieh asked police officers to “give way” to protesters so they could enter the Executive Yuan and submit their petition to the premier.

When the police stood their ground, demonstrators attempted to storm the grounds.

The clash ended after Hsu Fu (許輔), director of the Cabinet’s food safety office, stepped outside the Executive Yuan to receive the protesters’ petition and then invited KMT Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) and Chen Yi-ming (陳宜民) into the building for talks.

‘No contaminated food’

“No radiation-contaminated food products will be allowed into the nation,” according to a Cabinet press statement released Friday afternoon.

The Cabinet stated that it would take protesters’ concerns into account and reinstate its “four-noes policy” on Japanese food imports.

It said all products from the Fukushima Prefecture would continue to be prohibited from entering Taiwan’s borders.

Food products from Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, and Chiba — four of the five prefectures affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster — that are at high risk of absorbing radiation would also remain banned.

Those with a lower risk of radiation contamination would also stay banned if they did not have a certificate confirming state of origin and radiation levels.

Food products still banned by the U.S. and the Japanese government would also remain banned from Taiwan.

An earthquake and tsunami had triggered meltdowns of nuclear power plants in Fukushima Prefecture in 2011.

Dozens of countries worldwide imposed sanctions or tightened restrictions on food imports produced in the regions around Fukushima Prefecture.

Starting 2015, the European Union and the U.S. gradually lifted the bans as Tokyo continued to urge the move on grounds of fair international trade.

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2016/11/19/484392/Hundreds-protest.htm

Government communication on Japanese food is a failure: Luis Ko

The issue of allowing the import of food products from parts of Japan affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has triggered a spate of conflicts and quarrels in Taiwan. Apart from opposition parties and social groups including physicians, even Democratic Progressive Party city mayors and county magistrates have been sending out mixed signals. The uproar has even made the model student in the matter of food safety, I-Mei Foods Co. CEO Luis Ko, shake his head. On November 19, he wrote on his Facebook page that the government should plan first and move later, and not create needless public dissatisfaction and unease.

Because several countries recently gradually lifted import restrictions on products from the disaster-stricken areas, Taiwan could soon follow suit and allow the import of some products from Fukushima prefecture and from four other prefectures (Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Chiba). The government organized public hearings on the matter which were criticized as haphazard. Earlier this week, 15 county and city chiefs from ruling and opposition parties voiced their opposition and said they did not agree with the import of the food. However, after the Presidential Office and the Executive Yuan contacted the 13 DPP mayors and magistrates, they altered their stance and said they agreed with the central government, saying that what they opposed was food imported from Fukushima prefecture.

On November 19, I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko wrote on his Facebook page that he felt surprise and concern at the government’s current handling of its food safety policy. He wondered why the government departments and officials in charge of agricultural produce and foodstuffs were the ones to stand at the forefront of the discussions with the public, and why the officials at the Ministry of Health and Welfare and at the Food and Drug Administration, who have usually made brave statements about food safety issues, only played a “supporting role.” He said the government had failed in its internal communication and integration. “Major problems have arisen with the functioning of the government team!”

Luis Ko also says the fact that the new government has failed to successfully execute several policies over the past six months as a result of insufficient internal “communication and integration” and of being unable to “plan first and move later.” He concluded by calling on the president and the premier to bear in mind the profound hopes of the people and to show the ability to reflect.

http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3033853