Recently, the media reported that after two years of the nuclear disaster, fish caught in the offshore waters of Fukushima Prefecture were once again found to contain radioactive substances exceeding the standard. It arouses the concerns of media and of some consumers. In Macao, are there any aquatic products from Fukushima of Japan for sale in the market? What has the Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) done to gate-keep and ensure food safety?
1. Is there any deep-sea fish from Fukushima of Japan for sale in Macao market?
No. Since the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Prefecture in 2011, IAM has suspended the application process for sanitary inspection of imported food products from Fukushima Prefecture to Macao. Therefore, there are currently no food products from Fukushima, such as aquatic products, for sale in the local market.
2. What are the further actions taken by IAM in monitoring radiation levels in food available in the local market?
Apart from routine inspection of imported food products, IAM maintains testing of radiation levels in food produced in and supplied by Japan in the local market. The testing in this respect is already part of the routine food tests conducted by the Department of Food Safety. So far, all tested food samples collected from the local market showed no abnormality in radiation levels. The results of the testing are published quarterly in the “Routine Food Surveillance Results” prepared by the Department.
Moreover, IAM adopts a series of preventive and control measures in accordance with Law No. 5/2013 “Food Safety Law”, as determined by the level and scope of risk to food safety. Such measures include removal of the problematic food products from shelves, marking them and keeping them aside, recall and ban on sale of the problematic food products. If the problematic food products are in violation of the standards prescribed in Administrative Regulation No. 16/2014 “Maximum Limits of Radionuclides in Food” and if the circumstances of the violation constitute a criminal act, the offender is liable to a maximum penalty of imprisonment for five years.
3. Concerning food products produced in Japan, what else should we pay attention to?
In general, the information about the term “製造者” (manufacturer) or “販売者” (seller) indicated on the pre-packaged food products from Japan refers to the registered address of the business (office), which is not the address of the manufacturing plant of the food products. The food manufacturing plant or processing plant is usually indicated as “製造所固有記号” (identification number of the manufacturing plant) which is a code number. Consumers may look up the address of the manufacturing plant by entering the code into the “search” box of the official website of the manufacturer of the concerned food product.
If members of the public have any opinions regarding the label of pre-packaged food products or related regulations, they may forward their opinions to the Macao Economic and Technological Development Bureau or call the “Food Safety Hotline”. In the latter case, the Department of Food Safety of IAM will refer the opinions to the Macao Economic and Technological Development Bureau for follow-up actions.