Radioactive materials were detected in some processed foods imported from Fukushima, Japan.The radioactivity levels were all below the allowance but they were all sent back. Unlike seafood, which can be banned completely if they are contaminated with even a bit of radioactive materials, there are no regulations governing processed food imports.
There's been growing safety concerns over food imports from Japan ever since the 2011 nuclear reactor meltdown in Fukushima.Seafood imports from Fukushima and seven other Japanese prefectures have been banned, but not processed foods.
[Soundbite] REP. NAM IN-SOON (DEMOCRATIC PARTY (AT 2013 GOV'T AUDIT)): "Processed seafood products, like salted seafood and dried fish, are imported into Korea. Rice from Fukushima is banned, but not sake and wine made from that rice. "
Despite mounting concerns, import of processed food products has been increasing annually.Over the past five years, Seoul imported 29,000 tons of food products from the area, including rice wine from Iwate Prefecture, sauces from Tochigi Prefecture, and soy sauce from Chiba Prefecture. During that period, radioactive materials were detected in 35 processed food imports, amounting to nearly 17 tons.The radioactivity levels were all below the permissible level of 100 becquerels.
[Soundbite] LEE EUI-KYUNG (MINISTER OF FOOD AND DRUG SAFETY (AUG. 19)): "Minimal levels of radioactive materials were detected in 16.8 tons of food imports. All of them were sent back."
According to the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, thorough testing is done during quarantine and the processed food sold in the nation is quite safe.Still, many are demanding more rigorous measures.
[Soundbite] PROF. KIM IK-JUNG (FORMER DONGGUK UNIV. MEDICAL SCHOOL PROFESSOR): "Korea can set limits and regulate imports. More imports should be inspected in a more rigorous manner."
Some highlight the need for an import ban on not just agricultural and fisheries products
RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS IN JAPANESE FOODS / KBS 뉴스 (News)