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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 April 20 - 26  > 91% of imported food left uninspected
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2016 April 20 - 26 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

91% of imported food left uninspected

April 21, 2016
Japan’s quarantine stations in FY2014 conducted food safety inspections on only 8.8% of imported foods, allowing the rest to be unloaded without examining for the presence of genetically-modified ingredients, residual pesticides, and other chemicals.

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Saito Kazuko at a meeting of the House of Representatives Special Committee on the TPP on April 20 revealed that 91.2% of such foods had gone uninspected.

Japan imported from overseas about 32 million tons of food products. Of them, 61.88% were from 11 countries participating in the TPP. A total of 172 violations of the Food Sanitation Act were found on the products imported from these countries in that fiscal year, including 74 violations regarding food imports from the U.S.

Saito claimed that Japan’s TPP ratification would further aggravate the situation, demanding that the government refrain from ratifying the TPP and take steps to protect the country’s food safety.

Health Minister Shiozaki Yasuhisa admitted to the possibility that the TPP would cause a rise in the number of violations associated with a dramatic increase in imported foods.

Saito pointed to the fact that Japan has only 408 food sanitation inspectors, including the two newly added this year. She demanded a drastic increase in the number of quarantine officers.

Past related articles:
> Tokyo Univ. professor points out problems with TPP [April 3, 2016]
> Gov’t approves banned food additives in anticipation of TPP [April 26, 2013]
> USTR presses Japan to ease its food-safety standards [April 4, 2012]
> TPP to threaten food safety [November 1, 2011]
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