Taipei, Oct. 6 (CNA) The food and Drug Administration (FDA) reaffirmed Thursday that there is no timetable for any lifting of a ban on food imports from five Japanese prefectures that were affected by radiation fallout from a nuclear power plant meltdown following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
"There is no timetable for any such opening," FDA Director-General Chiang Yu-mei (姜郁美) told CNA.
She declined to comment on reports that Taiwan and Japan have reached an initial consensus on Taiwan's opening to food imports from the five prefectures.
Taiwan banned food imports from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures in the wake of the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on March 11, 2011.
FDA Deputy Director-General Lin King-fu (林金富) said that food safety remains the primary concern, adding that the FDA will take stock of the management measures of other countries and continue to assess the situation.
Japanese media reported in May that Taiwan was planning to reopen to food imports from the five prefectures, but the reports were denied by the FDA. Reports resurfaced Thursday again about a lifting of the ban, and that formal opening could come early next year.
However, Pan Chih-kuan (潘志寬), an FDA food section chief, said that no related instructions have been received and that the assessment on Japanese food is still underway.
He stressed the three premises for opening -- results of border inspection, monitoring results in Japan and the public's attitude toward opening.
He said that since 2011, border inspections on 92,000 Japanese food items have been carried out, with 215 items found to contain a tiny amount of cesium. One item was found to contain the radioactive material in the past year.
(By Chang Ming-hsuan and Lilian Wu)ENDITEM/J