Thailand to step up measures against fresh food from Japan
BANGKOK -- Thai authorities decided Thursday to step up measures to prevent radiation-contaminated fresh food from 12 Japanese prefectures in the vicinity of a crippled nuclear plant from being imported, by requiring "radiation certificates."...
BANGKOK -- Thai authorities decided Thursday to step up measures to prevent radiation-contaminated fresh food from 12 Japanese prefectures in the vicinity of a crippled nuclear plant from being imported, by requiring "radiation certificates."
Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit told reporters that the Food and Drug Administration will soon require fresh food importers to certify the safety of vegetables, fruits, meats and marine products originating from or transiting the 12 prefectures -- Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama, Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Miyagi, Yamagata, Niigata, Nagano and Yamanashi.
The FDA has also recommended that the minister set a legal limit of radioactive iodine 131 at 100 becquerels per 1 kilogram or per 1 liter, and a combined level of radioactive cesium 134 and cesium 137 at 500 becquerels per 1 kg or per 1 liter.
Jurin is expected to approve the regulation draft later this week and it is expected to be effective next week, according to FDA chief Pipat Yingsaree.
The FDA has conducted random checks on food imports from Japan since March 16, after Japanese authorities discovered leafy vegetables and water contaminated by radiation in areas around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex.
On March 28, it found low-level radioactive iodine in imported sweet potatoes from Ibaraki prefecture. The level was only 15.25 becquerels per 1 kg, far below the standard limit of 100 becquerels per kg. But as a precautionary measure, the 75-kilogram shipment was destroyed.
The FDA will continue to conduct random checks on all imported food from Japan, even on shipments with radiation certificates, according to Jurin.
It will also strengthen inspection measures at all international airports with flights from Japan. Authorities have already seized and destroyed vegetables containing low levels of radioactive iodine and cesium from Japanese travelers.