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Korea Plans Testing All Imported Tuna On Radioactivity South Korea, September 3, 13

With public concern over leaks from the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, the South Korean government plans to implement testing for radioactive contamination in all fish products, from any origin, entering its borders.

In a survey of 1,000 Korean citizens, 96.6 percent said that they think Japanese fish products are not safe due to radiation leaks.

“The government plans from this month to strengthen the radioactive contamination tests on all fish imports by the end of this year. In particular, tests for four fish imports-tuna, mackerel, cuttlefish, and pollack – will be strengthened,” said a representative from the National Fishery Products Quality Management Service.

Despite worries mounting about the possible contamination of fish from Japan, all South Korea’s imports will be tested in this way. Korea is a major tuna consuming nation, importing tuna from over 20 different countries.

But with figures in 2012 of only 12,209 tons of frozen tuna and 42 tons of fresh tuna imported into the country, South Korea relies heavily on its own fleet for the supply of raw material tuna for production.

And with Japan only contributing 352 tons of frozen tuna to this total, it is questioned as to why this is such an important check for South Korea to implement. Up until now there have been very low levels of radioactivity in tuna recorded.

In early August, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries tested 165 samples of 15 species of fish. A whole 14 of the species tested were found to be completely radiation free, while a “very small amount” of radioactive material was found in tangleweed.

The plan is said to come following concern amongst the Korean public over the exposure to and intake of radiation from seafood imports after Tokyo Electric Power Company, the Japanese operator of Fukushima nuclear plant, admitted recently that radioactive water has been leaking into the surrounding waters.