Radiation fears for Japan’s food exports

Posted by Rita Mu

Radioactive material has been detected in Japan’s food and water supplies, triggering fear from the international community that the country’s food exports could also be contaminated.

Nuclear reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant have been leaking radiation since the earthquake and tsunami devastated the country on 11 March.

According to ABC News Online, traces of radiation exceeding national safety standards have been found in milk from a farm about 30 km from the plant and spinach grown in neighbouring Ibaraki prefecture.

Low levels of radioactive iodine have also been found in tap water in Tokyo. According to ABC News Online, a sample containing 1.5 becquerals per kg of iodine was detected. The tolerable limit for food and drink is 300 becquerals per kg.

Japan has said that radioactive iodine so far found in food poses no health risk. However, the country is considering whether to halt sales of food products produced in the Fukushima prefecture.

While food regulators in Singapore and Hong Kong have begun testing Japanese imported fresh fruit and vegetables for radiation contamination, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), said the risk of Australian consumers being exposed to radioactive materials in foods imported from Japan was negligible.

FSANZ said imported foods from Japan were limited to a small range of specialty foods such as seaweed-based products and that any Japanese foods in Australia would have been imported before the earthquake.

FSANZ is working with the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service and Customs and food safety regulators in Singapore and Hong Kong on the matter.

Image: Oxfordmail.co.uk

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