Retailers around Taiwan have removed a fermented soybean product called natto from their shelves after it was found that soy sauce packaged with the natto originated in a Japanese prefecture whose food exports are banned in Taiwan.
Taiwan has a ban on the imports of food products from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures in Japan, areas that were contaminated with radioactive substances following the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011, a catastrophe triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.
However, after it was recently discovered that the soy sauce packaged with a type of natto in Taiwan was produced in Ibaraki, Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered a nationwide recall of the natto.
The FDA also called on all importers of Japanese food products to voluntarily remove from store shelves any suspected imports from the five radiation-affected prefectures in Japan as a preventive measure.
The FDA's action was prompted by complaints from customers in Taiwan at the Japanese restaurant chain Yoshinoya, who noticed that the soy sauce served with their natto was from Ibaraki.
Wu Ming-mei (???), an FDA section chief, said the natto was produced by Japanese food manufacturer Kajinoya in Kanagawa prefecture and imported by a Taiwanese company.
He said the FDA will seek an explanation from the exporters and will carry out an investigation to determine who should be held responsible.
As of Dec. 9, Shinkong Mitsukoshi and SOGO department store chains, RT-Mart and Far Eastern A Mart hypermarket chains, and other retailers had pulled 5,142 packages of natto from their shelves, according to Wu.
Since May 15 last year, importers of Japanese food products have been required to present certificates of origin to prevent the importation of food items from the five radiation-affected prefectures.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel