Radiological Standard for Bottled/Packaged Waters under Routine Condition
7.1 Why Centre for Food Safety (CFS) adopts a more stringent standard to replace the Codex guideline levels for contaminated food following radiological or nuclear emergency for bottled/packaged waters?
Since it is now well over one year after the quake-led nuclear incident in Japan, CFS considered that it is an appropriate time to adopt the radiological standard stipulated in the Codex “General Standard for Bottled/Packaged Drinking Waters (Other Than Natural Mineral Waters)(CODEX STAN 227-2001)" for bottled/packaged waters under routine condition, after taking into account currently international standards, risk assessment and other relevant factors. This standard states that no bottled/packaged waters shall contain substances or emit radioactivity in quantities that may be injurious to health and all bottled/packaged waters shall comply with the health-related requirements of the most recent Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality (GDWQ) published by the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the 2011 version of GDWQ, the guidance level is 10 Bq/L for I-131, Cs-134 and Cs-137 respectively. The sum of the radiation level should not exceed 10 Bq/L if multiple radionuclides are detected in one sample. The Water Supplies Department has also been following WHO's GDWQ as the standards for the quality of drinking water in Hong Kong. The Expert Committee supported the CFS’s adoption of this standard for bottled/packaged water under routine condition.
7.2 Does the above radiological standard apply only to bottled/packaged waters imported from Japan?
The above radiological standard is applicable to bottled/packaged waters imported from Japan and all other countries.
7.3 What is the radiological standard for other food commodities?
For food commodities other than bottled/packaged waters, the Expert Committee noted that there is no standard for routine condition and recommended the CFS to continue adopting the “General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Food and Feed (CODEX STAN 193-1995, Amended 2010)" (GSCTFF) guideline levels for import control of food imported from Japan and other parts of the world following a nuclear or radiological emergency. Since the Codex guideline levels are widely acceptable for international trade and provide sufficient protection for public health, CFS will continue adopting the GSCTFF guideline levels for other food commodities.
7.4 When does the new radiological standard for bottled/packaged waters become effective?
The effective date is on 1 August 2012.
7.5 Will the CFS announce the test results of satisfactory samples detected with low level of radionuclides to the public?
To facilitate the public to make informed choices, the CFS will continue to upload the test results of food imported from Japan, including those with radionuclides below GSCTFF guideline levels, on the CFS’s website on working days.