Food from Japan is Safe
Following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant (NPP) incident, AVA implemented a series of import control measures and surveillance testing on Japanese food imports. These include restricting the import of all food from Fukushima. In addition, imports from all other Japanese prefectures must be accompanied by pre-export testing certificates and Certificates of Origins (COO), and consignments are subjected to our laboratory testing before being released for sale.
As at July 2014, more than 18,000 samples of food from Japan were tested and only 0.14 percent of the samples (mostly from those collected in 2011) were detected to contain radioactive contaminants. Since January 2013, AVA has not detected any radioactive contaminants in food from Japan. Our surveillance results have been corroborated by tests conducted by Japan. There are also no recent reports by other countries of any significant detection of radioactive contaminants in food from Japan.
Review of Import Restrictions
In March 2014, AVA conducted an on-site inspection in Japan to review its food safety system, and is satisfied that Japan has implemented sufficient measures to mitigate the risk of radioactive contaminants in food products.
On 31 May 2014, AVA eased import restrictions by removing the need for pre-export test certificates for the following products:
- Green tea and green tea products (Shizuoka)
- Fruits and vegetables (Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa)
- Fruits, vegetables, milk, milk products, meat, and eggs (Tochigi, Ibaraki, and Gunma)
In addition, fruits, vegetables, milk, milk products, meat, eggs, rice, green tea, green tea products from parts of Fukushima are now also allowed into Singapore. However, Japanese authorities need to provide evidence of surveillance (surveillance certificate), showing the products from these areas for export to Singapore are free from radioactive contaminants.
Some restrictions will remain. First, we will continue to restrict imports of seafood and forest products from the whole Fukushima prefecture. Second, food or agricultural products from restricted areas close to the Fukushima NPP, including the zone around NPP and all contaminated areas where residents have been evacuated, will still be prohibited.
Besides these import restrictions, other measures – such as the requirements for COO, surveillance certificates, and pre-export testing certificates – will further ensure food safety. With these efforts, AVA would like to assure consumers that Japanese food imports that are available in the local market are free from radioactive contaminants and are safe for consumption. We will continue to closely monitor food imports from Japan and carry out surveillance testing to ensure that they comply with our food safety requirements.