Health min. open to lifting certain US, Japan food import bans

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung says he is not opposed to lifting a ban on US pork and certain Japanese food imports. Chen made the comment in a Monday interview with Apple Daily.

Chen said, however, that food safety is a priority. He promised that if there are any safety concerns, he will not lift the ban at the expense of public health, simply for political considerations.

Taiwan has imposed a ban on US pork laced with ractopamine, a leanness-enhancing additive, due to safety concerns.

The ban on Japanese food imports from Fukushima and four neighboring prefectures is due to concerns about contaminated food following the 2011 meltdown of a nuclear power plant. Chen promised to send a delegation to Japan to collect more evidence about radioactive residue if Taiwan resumes negotiations with Japan.

Taiwan's government has come under pressure from Japan and the United States to lift the bans, but there is ongoing public anxiety over imports from the two countries. Chen said the issue involves trade and diplomacy, not just food safety.

Source: Radio Taiwan International