The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Monday a recall of two types of fermented soybean products, called natto, after discovering the previous day that soy sauce has been packaged with natto originating from a radioactive-affected Japanese prefecture whose food exports are banned in Taiwan.
Taiwan has a ban on imports of food products from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures in Japan, areas that were contaminated with radioactivity following the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011, a catastrophe triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.
The FDA said it has ordered a nationwide recall -- to be completed within 72 hours -- of a type of natto after it was discovered that it was produced in Ibaraki Prefecture.
Customers in a Taiwan store of the Japanese fast-food restaurant chain Yoshinoya reported they noticed that the soy sauce served with a natto product came from Ibaraki, said Wu Ming-mei (???), an FDA section chief.
The sauce, which is sold by Japan's Kajinoya in Kanagawa Prefecture and imported by Taiwan's Taicrown Crop. (??), was manufactured in Ibaraki, according to the FDA.
The FDA said the origin of the product on the label reads Kanagawa Prefecture, with the import registration filed by Taicrown also indicating it is from Kanagawa Prefecture, but the information printed on the sauce packet indicates it is from Ibaraki Prefecture.
If the sauce is made in Ibaraki, the company could face a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$3 million (US$943 and US$94,251) for false registration, according to the FDA.
It was also discovered later Sunday that the soy sauce packaged with another type of natto imported by another Taiwanese company is also from Ibaraki, according to the FDA.
The FDA said in a press conference Monday that the soy sauce indeed originated in Ibaraki and it has ordered the recall and destruction of the products in question from restaurants and supermarkets within 72 hours.
It also demanded that the importers provide documents from their exporters to explain the point of origin of the soy sauce, according to the FDA.
Meanwhile, the FDA 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 has also stepped up checks on suspected food products from the five Japanese prefectures, it added.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel