FSANZ moves to test Japanese food imports

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 30th March 2011

In its most recent assessment of the situation in Japan, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) noted that the Japanese Government had moved to place new restrictions on certain foods sourced from areas of Japan where radiation contamination has occurred.

As a precautionary measure, and consistent with approaches internationally, FSANZ said that on March 23, it asked AQIS (the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service) to institute testing of some foods originating from four Japanese prefectures — Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki and Tochigi.

The foods being tested are fresh or frozen seafood, seaweed, milk and fresh fruit and vegetables.

FSANZ said it still viewed the risk to Australian consumers being exposed to radionuclides in food imported from Japan as negligible.

Milk and fresh produce from Japan are not imported into Australia, while imports of seaweed and seafood represent a very small proportion (5.5% and 0.46% respectively) of Australia’s total imports of these products.

On March 24, AQIS issued a notice warning importers that certain foods from the four affected prefectures will be referred for radionuclide testing.