AVA eases curbs on some foods from Japan

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) has lifted its ban on some food imports from Japan's Fukushima prefecture.

It has also eased restrictions on food from eight Japanese prefectures by allowing their import into Singapore without requiring pre-export tests. The eight are Chiba, Ibaraki, Gunma, Kanagawa, Saitama, Shizuoka, Tochigi and Tokyo.

The announcement was made yesterday by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during a joint press conference with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The move makes it easier to import items such as fruit, vegetables, milk, meat, hen eggs and green tea into Singapore. But pre-export tests are still required for seafood and products from the forests of Gunma, Ibaraki and Tochigi - such as berries and boar meat.

Seafood, forest and agricultural produce from areas in Fukushima with high radioactive contamination or areas near the nuclear power plant cannot be imported.

Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, the AVA has been monitoring food imports from Japan closely and found "satisfactory" surveillance results. Earlier this year, it conducted an on-site assessment of Japan's food safety measures.

The easing of restrictions will allow Japanese restaurants here to choose from a greater variety of produce.

Mr John Yek, managing director of RE&S which runs 60 Japanese restaurants and retail outlets in Singapore and Malaysia, said: "With more places to source from, we will be able to offer customers more menu selections featuring premium ingredients from Japan."

This article was first published on June 1, 2014.
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