SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Korea Bizwire) — Japanese foods that have been barred from entering the country due to potential radiation contamination remained low this year as South Korea maintains its tight inspection system, according to the government Friday.
Four shipments of Japanese foods totaling some 5 tons were denied entry for the whole of 2019 as of late last week, roughly on par with the annual tally from 2016 onward, the data from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety showed.
Products with minute traces of radiation were blueberry additives, cinnamon powder, roasted coffee and amberjack fish-based food products, they showed.
South Korea restricted imports of Japanese fishery and agricultural products and have kept close tabs on processed food after three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Honshu experienced an earthquake and tsunami-triggered meltdown in March 2011.
The subsequent release of radioactive materials into the surrounding environment has been rated as the worst nuclear accidents since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
The disaster has, moreover, fueled concerns of harmful radioactive contaminants entering the human food chain.
In 2011, 37 shipments totaling 61 tons did not make it past customs with this number spiking to 66 cases and 74 tons in the following year before falling off in 2013 and 2014.
In 2015, trace radiation was found in eight shipments worth little over 15 tons.
“For the past eight years Seoul has demanded examination certification, making clear that the products were not contaminated with strontium and other radionuclide if inspectors detected even minute traces of radiation,” the ministry said.
The ministry said that while it does not formally share its findings with neighboring countries and international organizations, related data are forwarded to business in both South Korea and Japan that engage in the trading of food products.