New Arrangement for Import Control on Japanese Food

Ensuring food safety is the government's prime consideration. In response to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant incident (Fukushima incident), an Order was issued in March 2011 to restrict the import of certain food from Fukushima and other four prefectures (namely Chiba, Gunma, Ibaraki and Tochigi) in Japan to Hong Kong. The government has been reviewing the risk management measures on food products imported from Japan in the light of the latest situation. Taking into account the recent surveillance results and expert views from international organisations, new arrangement for import control on Japanese food was implemented. The effective date of new arrangement is 24 July 2018

In summary, import restrictions on food from Fukushima remain unchanged. Vegetables, fruits, milk, milk beverages and dried milk from the four prefectures (Fukushima excluded) are allowed to be imported with the conditions that they are accompanied by both a radiation certificate and an exporter certificate issued by the Japanese authority. The radiation certificate shows which of the four prefectures each consignment of products come from and attests that the radiation levels do not exceed the Codex Guideline Levels (Codex levels). According to Codex, food is considered as safe for human consumption if the radiation levels do not exceed the Codex levels. As an additional safeguard, the exporter concerned must hold and produce exporter certificate which certifies the foods exported to Hong Kong by the exporter concerned are fit for human consumption as far as radiological protection is concerned and are readily available for sale in Japan implying that the radiation levels do not exceed the Japanese levels which are more stringent than Codex levels.

Two Levels of Gatekeeping to Safeguard Food Safety

Two levels of gatekeeping are involved under the current arrangement. At export level, the Japanese authority which issues the radiation certificates and exporter certificates must ensure that each consignment of those products do not come from Fukushima and attest that the radiation levels of the food products do not exceed the Codex levels as well as the more stringent Japanese levels. At the import level, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) will continue to conduct radiation tests on food products imported from Japan, and subsume the radiation testing on Japanese food under the routine annual food surveillance programme starting from 1 January 2021.

Situation Update of Radiation Tests on Food Imported from Japan

From 16 March 2011 onwards, the Centre for Food Safety updates the figures of the food surveillance on the website every working day.

Click here to view the figures

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