A shipment of strawberries from Japan’s Tochigi Prefecture was seized at the border due to excessive levels of pesticide residue, the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Tuesday.
The shipment is the first batch of produce from a Japanese prefecture recently removed from an import ban to fail a border inspection, the agency said.
Taiwan on Feb. 21 lifted a ban on food imports from five Japanese prefectures, which was implemented following the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster. In addition to Tochigi and Fukushima, the ban included neighboring Chiba, Gunma and Ibaraki.
Photo courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration via CNA
FDA Food Safety Division official Lin Hsu-yang (林旭陽) said that since the ban was lifted, 19 shipments of food and agricultural produce have been imported from Gunma, Ibaraki and Tochigi, and none have been found to contain radiation contamination.
The shipment of 88.8kg of strawberries was confiscated after sample testing on March 17 found they contained the insecticide flonicamid at 0.15 parts per million (ppm), exceeding the nation’s 0.01ppm maximum residue limit, the FDA said.
The FDA began batch-by-batch inspections of strawberries imported from Japan, as excessive pesticide residue has repeatedly been detected in them.
The agency also requested that Japan provide a written explanation for the high levels of pesticide in its strawberry shipments by May 6, but has not yet received a response, Lin said.
The FDA also released a list of 11 items that failed its latest border inspections, including dried porcini mushrooms from France, ready-to-cook chicken soup packets from Malaysia, artichoke extract powder from Canada, dried galangal tubers from Vietnam, seaweed salt from Japan, Thai red tea from Thailand, green tea chutney from Myanmar, frozen oil fish roe from Fiji and a red tea product from India.
All problematic items were either returned to their country of origin or destroyed in accordance with regulations, the agency said.
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