FSANZ: Japanese food risk “negligible”

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 21st March 2011

Australia’s food standards regulator, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), has made a statement that it considers the risk of Australian consumers being exposed to radionuclides in food imported from Japan to be negligible.

“Australia does not import fresh produce from Japan.  In fact Australia imports very little food from Japan. Imports are limited to a small range of specialty products, for example seaweed-based products, sauces etc,” said FSANZ in the statement.

“Any processed Japanese food on supermarket shelves in Australia would have been imported before the earthquake and is therefore safe to eat.”

The body said it would re-evaluate the risk assessment should the situation in Japan worsen, using the international levels set for radionuclides in food as a basis.

“On the basis of FSANZ’s current risk opinion, no extra restrictions on Japanese food are in place. This is consistent with approaches being adopted by other countries with similar import profiles to Australia (eg. Canada, New Zealand, US),” the group said.

“FSANZ is working closely with other Australian regulators, such as ARPANSA, the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service and Customs, to ensure a coordinated approach to managing any potential risks to the Australian food supply chain.”

“FSANZ is also working closely with international regulators to share information on potential risks and management, including regulators in those countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong which have commenced testing of imports of fresh fruit and vegetables from Japan for radionuclide contamination.”