(Photo courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration)
Taipei, Dec. 14 (CNA) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Wednesday that it has rejected the entry to Taiwan of five brands of Japanese natto seized a day earlier at Taichung Port after they were found to contain packets of soy sauce from two radiation-affected Japanese prefectures from which foodstuffs are banned from entering Taiwan.
The soy sauce packaged with the five brands of natto, which weighed at total of 187 kilograms and was imported by the Taichung store of Japanese supermarket chain Yumaowu Capita'n, came from Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures, according to the FDA.
Taiwan banned food imports from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures after the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011.
The FDA launched an inspection of food products from Japan sold in stores and supermarkets around Taiwan after it was discovered Dec. 11 that the soy sauce packaged with two brands of Japanese natto available in Taiwan was produced in Ibaraki Prefecture.
The inspection, being conducted with the help of health authorities in 22 counties and cities around Taiwan, is expected to be completed within a week, according to the FDA.
The inspection has led to the discovery of several types of soy sauce packaged with natto, as well as hot pot soup base products originating from radiation-affected areas of Japan, it said.
The FDA has ordered that the 187 kg of natto products must be returned to Japan and will carry out careful checks on Yumaowu Capita'n to find out whether any other products sold at its outlets are from any of the five affected prefectures.
The FDA also called on all sellers of Japanese products to voluntarily pull any suspect imports from their shelves as a precaution, while requiring exporters of Japanese food products to present documentation proving point of origin, it said.
Products that have already entered the country and which are discovered to be from any of the five prefectures will be destroyed, and the importers will be fined, the FDA added.
(By Chang Ming-hsun and Evelyn Kao)