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Food from Fukushima safe: AVA

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The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) says food products imported from Japan are safe for consumption.

The AVA was replying to a question from “Lovecraft RavenEve” on its Facebook page.

“Lovecraft RavenEve” had raised concerns on the announcement by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 31 May, that Singapore would “immediately” lift restrictions on the import of food products from the Fukushima region in Japan.

Fukushima was hit with a nuclear accident in 2011, and Singapore has had a ban imposed on its products since then.

According to news reports, “fruits and vegetables, milk and milk products, meat, hen eggs and green tea/green tea products from eight prefectures (Chiba, Ibaraki, Gunma, Kanagawa, Saitama, Tochigi and Tokyo) can be imported into Singapore without the need for pre-export tests.”

“In addition, the suspension of agricultural produce and processed food products (fruits and vegetables, milk and milk products, meat, green tea and green tea products, and rice) from Fukushima will be lifted.”

“Lovencraft” cited a recent news report, on 15 June, in her posting to the AVA.

“I just read a report that ‘nearly 0.2million kids—tested by the Fukushima Medical University near the smouldering reactors now suffer from pre-cancerous thyroid abnormalities, primarily nodules and cysts. The rate is accelerating.”

She then asked if the AVA would impose “prominent labelling” of such foods into Singapore, with labels to indicate that such food products are “Imported from Fukushima" so that consumers can make informed choices.

In its reply, the AVA said, “We have been monitoring food imports from Japan and rest assured that our surveillance results have been satisfactory.”

It said that before it lifted its restrictions, it “had carried out a comprehensive risk assessment on the safety of the food supply in Japan.”

It explained:

Our assessment consisted of an onsite inspection of the Japanese food safety system and a review of our surveillance on food imports from Japan. We also took the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report on Japan’s food safety into consideration in our assessment. Following the assessment and review, we have incorporated several safety measures before allowing food imports from Japan:

 

a)        The import of food or agricultural products from contaminated areas close to and around the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant is not allowed.

b)        The import of seafood from Fukushima is not allowed.

c)        In addition, we also require seafood from neighbouring prefectures of Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma to be tested for radioactive contamination before they can be exported to Singapore.

d)        Before food can be imported from Fukushima, the Japanese authorities have to show evidence of satisfactory surveillance results for radioactive contamination. E.g. the radioactive levels in the areas of food production are required to be within Japan’s safety standards.

The AVA assured the public that all food products from Japan still require a Certificate of Origin (COO) to identify the prefecture of origin of the food product.

It assured the public that food imported from Japan that is available in the market is safe for consumption.

“We will continue to closely monitor and test food from Japan to ensure that they meet our food safety standards,” it added.

You can read the Facebook thread here.