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Food Safety Focus (86th Issue, September 2013) – Food Incident Highlight

Low Level of Radioactivity in Japanese Dried Mushroom

Last month, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) found a dried mushroom sample to have low levels of radioactive substances. The result was reported in the local media. The levels were well below the guideline levels established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex).

Risk assessment conducted by the CFS showed that the exposure to radioactive substances from consuming the dried mushroom with the same level of radioactive substances for one year even for high consumers was only about 6% of the radiation dose received from a return trip from Hong Kong to the West Coast of the United States. Hence, consuming the dried mushroom concerned is unlikely to pose adverse effects to human health.

In Hong Kong, the CFS has a surveillance programme to monitor radioactivity in food. After the nuclear incident in Japan in 2011, the CFS has stepped up surveillance at both the import and retail levels for food imported from Japan. A prohibition order has been issued to ban import of a variety of produce from the five concerned prefectures into Hong Kong. Specific food categories are allowed to be imported from these areas only when accompanied by certificate indicating radiation is below Codex guideline level. The CFS would continue to closely monitor the situation.