SINGAPORE — The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has confirmed that it has not found any contaminated food samples from Japan, in connection with the country's recent release of wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant.
The clarification from Singapore's food safety watchdog on Sunday (3 September) comes in response to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) podcast, titled "More Countries Ban Import of Japanese Food."
Clarification of misreported claims
The WSJ podcast, which was published on 24 August, claimed that Singapore has found radioactive contamination in vegetable samples from Japan.
However, the SFA has clarified that this statement refers to a media release made by the former Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore back in 2011, which is no longer relevant due to subsequent developments.
Although posted this year, the podcast referred to an incident on 25 March 2011, two weeks after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
SFA reaffirmed on Sunday that it had not detected any contaminated vegetable samples from Japan or banned any food products from Japanese prefectures recently.
The agency emphasised its commitment to a science-based approach when assessing food safety risks.
"Food imported into Singapore is subjected to SFA's surveillance and monitoring regime, which includes radiation surveillance, and enforcement actions will be taken should any food imports be found to be unsafe or unsuitable for consumption," SFA said in its media release.
Japan's Fukushima water release sparks regional reactions
On 24 August, Japan began discharging treated water used for cooling the damaged reactors into the sea.
Japanese authorities reported that fish tested in waters around the Fukushima nuclear plant did not contain detectable levels of radiation immediately after the water release.
However, in response to the discharge, China has banned all Japanese seafood imports, and Hong Kong has restricted "aquatic products" from 10 Japanese prefectures.
South Korea also witnessed protests involving about 50,000 people demanding government action. Arrests were made after protestors entered a building housing the Japanese embassy in Seoul.
Wastewater release unlikely to affect Singapore's seawater quality
Regarding concerns about food safety in Singapore following Japan's decision to release Fukushima wastewater into the Pacific Ocean, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said on 3 August in Parliament that the SFA has been closely monitoring food imports, including those from Japan.
The National Environment Agency assessed that the planned discharge of treated radioactive water into the sea from the Fukushima nuclear plant is unlikely to impact seawater quality in or around Singapore waters.
It also added that the radioactivity levels remain within natural background levels.
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