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E-commerce firm under attack for selling radiated food from Japan

A customer selects Japanese biscuits in a store selling Japanese goods in Taipei, Taiwan. Photo: EPA

A domestic cross-border e-commerce company was blamed by the China Central Television on Wednesday evening for selling food imported from Japanese areas exposed to nuclear radiation, reigniting worries over the threat of radiated products from the island country.

At the annual 3.15 consumer TV program aiming to expose business wrongdoings and help consumers protect their legal rights, CCTV, China's largest state broadcaster, lashed out at Shenzhen Dolphin Cross-border Technology for selling Calbee fruit granola imported from Japan's nuclear radiation-affected areas.

The Shenzhen-based firm, which claims itself as the country's largest mother and baby products supplier, provides commodities to many other domestic online shopping platforms, according to CCTV.

CCTV also exposed that many supermarkets operating in the country such as Muji and Aeon are found guilty of selling food made in Japanese prefectures affected by nuclear radiation from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was damaged in an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

These supermarkets were accused by the broadcaster of deceiving consumers by using Chinese labels indicating Japan or Japanese areas that are not subject to nuclear radiation as the places of production to cover the original Japanese labels specifying the products are made in regions vulnerable to nuclear radiation.

In response to the domestic media's inquiries, Shenzhen Youkeshu Technology, the parent company of Shenzhen Dolphin Cross-border Technology, said that it had stopped selling the related Japanese food products and will recall the already sold Calbee fruit granolas after receiving a warning notice from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ).

In a statement, Muji said that all of the food products it imported from Japan met the stricter requirements the GAQSIQ set following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, adding that these imported products were accompanied with certificate of origin.

CCTV's exposure came a month after the GAQSIQ issued a document to ban imports of food products from 10 Japanese prefectures affected by nuclear radiation. It also required importers to offer certificate of origin and conformity certificate of radioactive test.

The exposure has sparked renewed fears over the safety of imported food on China's social media, where many Internet users vented their anger against the unscrupulous merchants. Meanwhile, some complained that the 26-year-old annual consumer TV program cannot play a key role in wiping out bad corporate practices, calling for stricter scrutiny by the country's regulators over the imports of goods from foreign countries.

According to a report by Caijing, a leading Chinese business news organization, Shenzhen Dolphin Cross-border Technology's customs declaration related to Calbee fruit granola did not show that the imported food were from Japanese areas subject to nuclear radiation.

A sales manager from Shenzhen Dolphin Cross-border Technology who refused to be named said that the company has warehouses in the bonded areas in Shenzhen, Tianjin and Hangzhou, according to the Caijing report.

The Market and Quality Supervision Commission of Shenzhen Municipality said that more than 13,000 online shopping platforms in China are suspected of selling radiation-tainted food products imported from Japan, according to CCTV.

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