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S. Korea's fisheries products safe from Japanese radiation leak

2013/09/02 11:54

SEJONG, Sept. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korean fisheries products are completely safe from Japan's radiation leak, the government said Monday, adding it will take at least 10 more years for the contaminated water to reach South Korea.

Eom Ki-doo, head of the National Fishery Products Quality Management Service, also noted the level of contamination will only be about 0.15 becquerel per cubic meter of water (Bq/m3) when that water gets here, far lower than the 2 Bq/m3 that already exists in South Korean waters and the Pacific.

"The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety is thoroughly monitoring locally produced products and those from deep-sea fishing, and the tests have so far found no products with any problem," he told reporters.

The allowable levels of two commonly found radioactive materials cesium and iodine in food are 370 Bq and 300 Bq, respectively.

"If a person eats one whole mackerel with 370 Bq of cesium, which is the maximum allowed level, everyday for eight months, the person will be exposed to the same level of radiation as in taking one x-ray picture," Eom said.

Still, the government is taking precautionary measures to prevent an inflow of any contaminated fisheries products, according to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

Since Japan's power company admitted that contaminated water had been leaking from its Fukushima nuclear power plant, South Korea has increased the frequency of its radiation checks on fisheries products from once every three months to twice per month, the ministry said.

The government is also intensifying its crackdown on retailers and restaurants that fail to correctly identify the place of origin for their fisheries products, a move partly aimed at making sure that the consumers know when they purchase Japanese products.

A failure to identify the place of origin may be subject to a fine of up to 10 million won (US$9,046). Those who label fisheries products with a false place of origin may face a fine of up to 100 million won or a prison term of less than seven years, the ministry said.

The Fukushima power plant is the site of Japan's worst nuclear accident, which was caused by a powerful earthquake in March 2011.

bdk@yna.co.kr

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