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Low level of Caesium detected in Japanese oats sample (with photo)

An oats sample, imported from Japan and collected recently from a local retail outlet during surveillance, has been found to have a low level of radioactivity, a spokesman for the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said today (August 1). However, there is no health concern in consuming the affected product.

Product details are as follows:

Product name: Nihonshokuhin Premium Pure Oatmeal
Manufacturer: Nippon Food Manufacturer
Place of origin: Hokkaido, Japan
Best before date: November 16, 2012
Packing size: 300 grams

"The oats sample was collected from a local supermarket for radiation testing under the regular Food Surveillance Programme," the CFS spokesman said.

"The test result showed that a low level of a radioactive substance, Caesium-137 (Cs-137), was detected at 7 Bq/kg. However, the detected level did not exceed the guideline levels of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (i.e. 1,000 Bq/kg)," he added.

Dietary exposure estimation showed that an internal dose of Cs-137 at even a high consumption of the oats sample (about 90 grams of oats daily) would not have adverse health effects. Therefore the supermarket concerned was not ordered to recall the product but was informed of the test result, the spokesman said.

"The internal dose of radioactive substances of high consumers from consuming the oats sample for one year is approximately 0.003 millisievert (mSv), far less than the radiation dose received during a chest X-ray examination (about 0.05 mSv)," he said.

Nevertheless, in view of public concern about radioactivity in food products following the nuclear power plant incident at Fukushima in March last year, the CFS has announced the test results. More information about nuclear event and food safety is available from the CFS website at www.cfs.gov.hk/english/programme/programme_rafs/programme_rafs_fc_01_30_Nuclear_Event_and_Food_Safety.html.

In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear power plant incident, the CFS has been conducting targeted radiation testing on food imported from Japan at import, wholesale and retail levels since March 12 last year, the spokesman said.

"The CFS will continue to closely monitor information from Japan as well as the radiation testing results of Japanese food products in Hong Kong and elsewhere. It will review and adjust, if necessary, the surveillance strategy on food products imported from Japan in a timely manner, making reference to the recommendations of international authorities, to safeguard food safety," he said.

Ends/Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Issued at HKT 18:01

The Centre for Food Safety of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has found an oats sample containing a low level of radioactivity. The product was imported from Japan and collected recently from a local retail outlet during surveillance. Picture shows the product concerned.

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Last revision date:01-08-2012