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Fukushima fish deemed fit for Thai market

Mar 12. 2018
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THE FIRST SHIPMENT of fish imported to Thailand from Japan’s Fukushima prefecture following the March 2011 nuclear disaster has been declared safe for consumption.

Fisheries Department’s deputy director-general Umaporn Pimolbutr said yesterday that samples of the fish had passed the Office of Atoms for Peace’s radiation safety test, with readings of Cesium radioactive contamination still much lower than the Public Health Ministry’s limit of no more than 500 Bq (becquerel) per kilogram. 

The fish samples – 27.5kg of flounder and 4.5kg of sole – were collected on March 9 for testing, and all of them had an amount of Iodine-131, Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 at 0.39 – 0.77 Bq/kg, which was lower than the equipment’s reading capacity. The exception was one sole fish sample that had a C-137 level at 0.86+0.31 Bq/kg, but that was still lower than the acceptable limit in the ministry’s announcement issued in 2011, she said. 

Umaporn also cited the Office of Agricultural Affairs at the Royal Thai Embassy in Tokyo’s report that, since the disaster, Japan has had ordered all prefectures to implement strict radioactive screening tests. The Cesium radioactive contamination limit for general food has been at the much-lower rate of 100 Bq/kg, compared to the internationally accepted codex value of 1,000 Bq/kg. 

If any sample were found to exceed 100 Bq/kg, the Japanese prefecture would ban that batch from going into the market immediately. If such limit-exceeding samples were found in various areas at the same time, the Japanese prime minister would ban that product, she said.

In the first three months after the disaster, about 50 per cent of fish from Fukushima were beyond the Cesium contamination limit. However, contamination reports had reduced continuously, and the Japanese authorities imposed a standard of 50 Bq/kg in April 2012. She added that the fish imported to Thailand were on the list of confirmed safe food.

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