Can We Protect Our Own Health ?

By Jasmine Casey Lee(李可心)

Compared to other countries, Taiwan and China are the only two countries that still impose tight restrictions on nuclear-affected food imports from Japan.And now, the Tsai administration is planning to import food and produce from the five counties near Fukushima, the most devastated place in the earthquake-caused nuclear disaster five years ago.In order to settle the dispute over importing contaminated food from Japan, the government has held a series of public hearing around the country in the past few weeks. However, there are still a lot of questions and doubts among the public.

During a public hearing, Tsai Administration officials pledged they would conduct batch-by-batch inspection of those foods which came from the radiation-affected counties. Yet, according to Shih Ming-chih (施明智), chairman and professor of Chinese Culture University’s  Nutrition and Health Department, “How to define ‘batch’ is the real issue!”

Professor Shih Ming-chih’s office. Photo/ Jasmine Casey Lee(李可心)
Professor Shih Ming-chih’s office. Photo/ Jasmine Casey Lee(李可心)
Professor Shih Ming-chih searching data. Photo/ Jasmine Casey Lee(李可心)
Professor Shih Ming-chih searching data. Photo/ Jasmine Casey Lee(李可心)

“If the government defines the whole freight as ‘a batch,’ then the inspection would be nearly impossible to determine if it is safe.”In addition, Professor Shih mentioned that since any odd shape or nuke-infected food has already been picked and disposed by the wholesalers before it reaches the store shelf, consumers would have no way to tell any contaminated produce by its appearance.

Consumer choosing food imported from Japan. Photo/ Jasmine Casey Lee(李可心)
Consumer choosing food imported from Japan. Photo/ Jasmine Casey Lee(李可心)

To address people’s concerns, professor Shih said, “If consuming too much of contaminated produce, radiation will indeed accumulate in the human body, and it may cause bad health effects, such as cancer. However, many people have a false understanding that radiation will be carried on to the next generation, but this is not true.”Among all the plants, the level of absorbing the radiation varies from type to type. Since the nuclear disaster happened rarely in the history, there was not enough reports or data to show the degree of radiation absorption in plants.

To conclude, in professor Shih’s point of view, if our government opens the gate to contaminated food and produce from Japan, there will be no ways for public to protect themselves on their own!

Consumer trying to determine if the produce is contaminated. Photo/ Jasmine Casey Lee(李可心)
Consumer trying to determine if the produce is contaminated. Photo/ Jasmine Casey Lee(李可心)