Food Safety Control in Response to Nuclear Incident in Japan
It has been over two years since the Fukushima nuclear incident in Japan. Occasionally, there are media reports on safety concerns related to food produced in Japan. For example, observations in Japan related to increased incidence of thyroid nodules and cysts have been reported by the media. Are foods imported from Japan to Hong Kong safe for consumption?
The Japanese authorities have been monitoring the levels of radioactivity in the environment and foodstuffs. Specific food categories from five prefectures of Japan (namely, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba) are allowed for exportation to Hong Kong provided that they are accompanied by radiation certificate attesting that the radiation levels do not exceed the Codex Guideline Levels.
In Hong Kong, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) has a surveillance programme to monitor the radioactivity in food. After the nuclear incident in Japan , the CFS has stepped up surveillance at both the import and retail levels for food imported from Japan and the surveillance results have been regularly uploaded at the designated webpage of Nuclear Event and Food Safety. So far, except the three vegetable samples collected at import level were found to contain Iodine-131 exceeding the Codex Standard at the beginning of the Fukushima incident in March 2011, no excessive radioactivity has been detected in food available for sale in the local market and consumption of food imported from Japan is not likely to pose adverse effects to human health. To ensure food safety, the CFS will keep in view the development of the incident and continue to monitor radioactivity in food imported from Japan.