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Fukushima export ban maintained by Hong Kong

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April 10, 2018
Seven years after a tsunami wiped out the nuclear reactors in Fukushima, causing widespread radiation contamination in a largely agricultural region, the Fukushima prefecture continues to struggle in getting crucial overseas markets to accept its produce.
This is despite a charm offensive that saw japanese foreign minister Taro Kono visiting Hong-Kong last weekend for the first time in 21 years to lobby chief executive Carrie Lam to lift a ban on imports from Fukushima and its surrounding region.
Hong-Kong which accounts for a quarter of Japan’s food export trade, is among the 55 countries that have blocked shipments from Fukushima since the 2011 disaster.
Facing resistance
The trip did not go the way Tokyo planned, with Lam expressing her reluctance to reopen trade.
“She emphasized that it is incumbent upon the government to safeguard public health and hence effective measures must be in place to ensure food safety and to maintain public confidence,” a statement issued by Lam’s office read.
The visit came shortly after South Korea announced it would maintain a blanket ban on imports from north-eastern Japan, even though the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled this as “arbitrary and unjustifiable” discriminatory measures.
Korea’s trade ministry stated in March that it would appeal the WTO decision, which is equivalent to a court ruling.
“Despite this ruling, the current import ban will remain in force, and the government will make its utmost efforts to ensure radiation-contaminated food does not reach the dinner table,” it said in a strongly-worded statement, ahead of a likely appeal.
Radiation safe?
Meanwhile a Fukushima flatfish festival in Bangkok was forced to cancel amid pressure from consumer goods watchdogs over radioactive contamination.
According to japanese officials, food from the affected area is safe, with no radiation having been detected in rice since 2015. In January, a safety panel announced that contamination inspections would be phased out in favor of random spot checks, to bring rice in line with the current procedure for fruits and vegetables.
This position is backed up by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, whose director-general publicly ate sweets made from pears and apples grown in Fukushima at an event in Tokyo last May to publicize the safety of produce in the affected area.
“We don’t see any reason to raise concern about the safety of food,” Jose Graziano Da Silva said at the time.
Just a year after the nuclear incident japanese authorities began adopting the strictest radiation standards of any country in the world by lowering the accepted level of contamination by half.
But persuading prime export markets that Fukushima food is safe is proving to be tremendously difficult.
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April 15, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Food Products Imported from Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Zone Recalled in Taiwan and Hong-Kong

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Muji ready meals, natto food products imported from Fukushima nuclear disaster zone recalled in Taiwan

TAIPEI – Two types of Muji ready meals were removed from shelves in Taiwan after they were found to have come from areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The Japanese lifestyle store removed 638 packets of the products from Tochigi prefecture voluntarily, Taiwan’s China Times reported on Wednesday (Dec 14).

The two products are the conger eel rice kit and the crab rice kit, said Ms Qiu Xiu-yi, northern district head of the Food and Drug Adminstration of Taiwan.

Muji Hong Kong said on Thursday that it was recalling the two products, following the reports in Taiwan. 

“In consideration of customers’ concern, Muji Hong Kong has removed the related products from sales floor immediately and is recalling the related products,” it said on its website. “Customers can bring their purchased products to Muji stores in Hong Kong for refund.”

In Taiwan, natto or fermented soybean products imported by Yu Mao Trading were also found to have come from Chiba prefecture, another affected zone.

Five natto products, or 1,465 items in total, were recalled.

Companies which do not report the origin of food imports accurately can be fined NT$30,000 to NT$3 million (S$1,350 to S$135,0000), the Taiwanese report said.

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/muji-ready-meals-natto-food-products-imported-from-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-zone

December 16, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japanese dried mushroom sample detected with trace level of radioactivity

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said today (September 8) that a loose-packed dried mushroom sample, imported from Japan, was detected with a low level of radioactivity. Follow-up is in progress.

Japanese dried mushroom sample detected with trace level of radioactivity

Hong Kong (HKSAR) –      The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said today (September 8) that a loose-packed dried mushroom sample, imported from Japan, was detected with a low level of radioactivity. Follow-up is in progress.

“The CFS collected the dried mushroom sample from a retail outlet in Sheung Wan for radiation testing under its routine Food Surveillance Programme. According to the information provided by the retail outlet, the product concerned was imported from Japan. The test result showed that the sample was detected with Caesium-137 at a level of 24 becquerels per kilogram (Bq/kg).

The standard laid down by the Codex Alimentarius Commission in the guideline levels for radionuclides in foods contaminated following a nuclear or radiological emergency is 1 000 Bq/kg for Caesium-137. The radiation level detected does not exceed the Codex guideline level,” a spokesman for the CFS said.

The CFS has informed the vendor concerned of the test result. The vendor has voluntarily stopped sale and removed from shelves the affected product.

In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear power plant incident, the CFS has enhanced radiation testing on food imported from Japan at import, wholesale and retail levels since March 12, 2011.

The CFS updates the results and figures of food surveillance on imported Japanese food on its website every working day (including those cases detected with low levels of radioactivity).

The CFS will continue to closely monitor information from Japan as well as the radiation test results of Japanese food products in Hong Kong and elsewhere. It will review and adjust, if necessary, the surveillance strategy on food products imported from Japan in a timely manner, making reference to the recommendations of international authorities, to safeguard food safety.

Please refer to the CFS website for results of the food surveillance on Japanese food: http://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/programme/programme_rafs/programme_rafs_fc_01_30_Nuclear_Event_and_Food_Safety.html” target=”_blank”>www.cfs.gov.hk/english/programme/programme_rafs/programme_rafs_fc_01_30_Nuclear_Event_and_Food_Safety.html.

http://7thspace.com/headlines/530211/japanese_dried_mushroom_sample_detected_with_trace_level_of_radioactivity.html

September 9, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Hong Kong still testing food imports for Fukushima’s radiation

More than five years ago on Friday, March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 set off a large tsunami sending a 50-foot wall of water over  three Fukushima Daiichi reactors. Three of the nuclear cores melted down in the next three days.

About 1,600 miles away on the next day, Saturday, March 12, 2011, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) in Hong Kong began stepped up surveillance of fresh foods including milk, vegetables and fruits, imported from Japan for radiation testing.

Eleven days later, on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, CFS discovered three samples imported from Japan with radioactivity levels exceeding those considered to be safe by international Codex Alimentarius Commission.

CFS is a unit of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department of Hong Kong’s City government, which is part of China. The CFS continues to test those Japanese imports but hasn’t found any additional shipments with unsafe radiation levels.

And its not for lack of looking. Since one week before CFS found those hot white radishes, turnips and spinach samples, Hong Kong has tested 344,881 samples.

It breaks down this way: 19,420 vegetable samples; 19,338 fruit samples; 2,189 milk and milk beverage samples; 900 milk powder samples; 594 frozen confection samples; 54,468 aquatic product samples; 9,487 meat product smples; 31,744 drink samples, and 206,741 other samples including cereals and snacks.

The totals are through Aug. 22. CFS continues to test samples from Japanese imports, conducting testing around the clock five days a week.

Hong Kong’s continued surveillance for radioactivity is just one sign of how cautious Asia remains about the Fukushima meltdown. Japan has excluded people and crop production in a 310-square-mile zone around the nuclear plants. No deaths or cases of radiation sickness are attributed to the nuclear accident. And, perhaps due to the large exclusion zone, future cancers and deaths from potential exposures are projected to be low.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration treats Fukushima with a periodically updated Import Alert that permits certain Japanese food imports to be detained without inspection.

Districts may detain, without physical examination, the specified products from firms in the Fukushima, Aomori, Chiba, Gumna, Ibaraki, Iwate, Miyagi, Nagano, Niigata, Saitama Shizuoka, Tochigig, Yamagata and Yamanashi prefectures,” the July 18 Import Alert from FDA says.

Japanese imports from those areas that can still be detained at the U.S. border include:

  • Rice, Cultivated, Whole Grain;
  • Milk/Butter/Dried Milk Products;
  • Filled Milk/Imitation Milk Products;
  • Fish, N.E.C.;
  • Venus Clams;
  • Sea Urchin/Uni;
  • Certain Meat, Meat Products and Poultry, specifically(beef, boar, bear, deer, duck, hare and pheasant products;
  • Yuzu Fruit;
  • Kiwi Fruit;
  • Vegetables/Vegetable Products;
  •  Baby Formula Products; and
  • Milk based formulas.

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/hong-kong-still-testing-food-imports-for-fukushimas-radiation/

August 24, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment