Japan tightens radiation limits on meat products

By MJ Deschamps

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Meat products, Japan

Japan is set to place stricter limits on the maximum levels of radiation in meat products sold for human consumption to Japanese consumers from 1 April, as contamination levels fall in the aftermath of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Under the revisions, the limit on permissible traces of radioactive caesium will be set at 100 becquerels (bq) per kilogram for meat products. Presently, levels are set at 500 bq per kilogram for the majority of foodstuffs, which were originally imposed after last March’s tsunami and earthquake.

“Based on current scientific knowledge, commodities that meet current provisional regulation values are considered to be safe. However, to achieve further food safety and consumer confidence, Japan is planning to reduce maximum permissible dose from 5mSv/year to 1mSv/year,”​ said a communiqué from Japan’s ministry of health, labour and welfare.

The proportion of beef found to be exceeding the standard limit for radioactive caesium has been dropping significantly over the last few months. And even close to the disaster site – in Fukushima prefecture – while 10.5% of beef tested from July to September last year (2011) had radioactivity exceeding the new standard limit (100 bq/kg), from October to November, just 1.1% failed the grade.

The news comes as the European Union has prolonged controls on Japanese meat exports because of the disaster.

Related topics: Meat

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