Sep 23 2013

FDA says US, imported seafood has no radiation risk from Fukushima

Seafood News
SEAFOOD.COM NEWS by John Sackton Sept. 23, 2013 – In a September update on food safety issues related to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the FDA declared that there is no public health concern for the U.S. They said that the same holds true for imported seafood, including seafood from Japan. For example, in a study that detected very low levels of cesium in bluefin tuna caught off the coast of California, the FDA says these levels were 300 times lower than the level that would even trigger an investigation to see if there was a public health concern. In short, although some specific radioactive isotopes may be detected from time to time, the FDA says that these levels are so low as to provide no issue whatsoever for public health.

Their full statement is below:

To date, FDA has no evidence that radionuclides from the Fukushima incident are present in the U.S. food supply at levels that would pose a public health concern. This is true for both FDA-regulated food products imported from Japan and U.S. domestic food products, including seafood caught off the coast of the United States.

Consequently, FDA is not advising consumers to alter their consumption of specific foods imported from Japan or domestically produced foods, including seafood. FDA continues to closely monitor the situation at and around the Fukushima Dai-ichi facility, as it has since the start of the incident and will coordinate with other Federal and state agencies as necessary, standing ready to take action if needed, to ensure the safety of food in the U.S. marketplace.

Import Alert # 99-33, which instructs FDA field personnel to detain foods shipments from Japan if the food is likely to contain radionuclide contamination, remains active. In addition, FDA tests for radionuclides as part of its routine surveillance, through the toxic elements in food and foodware monitoring program and through its Total Diet Study.

On top of the information obtained from its testing of imported and domestic foods, FDA stays current on radiation monitoring efforts by other U.S. Government agencies, including the environmental radiation monitoring program (RadNet) conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Additionally, the Agency consults on a formal and informal basis with experts from government, academia and the private sector on radiation safety issues. FDA scientists also keep abreast of scientific publications and reports from both private and public scientific institutions, including oceanographic research institutions. For example, a study published in 2012 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reported finding very low levels of Cesium in Pacific Bluefin tuna caught by recreational fisherman off the coast of California in August 2011. FDA reviewed this study and determined that the levels of cesium were roughly 300 times lower than levels that would prompt FDA to investigate further to determine if there were a health concern.

Read the full article here.

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