SINGAPORE, April 1, 2011 (AFP) - Singapore banned fruit and vegetable imports from an eighth Japanese prefecture on Thursday after detecting abnormal radiation levels, the city-state's food regulator said.
The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) suspended imports from Shizuoka after tests on a sample of its Japanese mustard spinach showed levels of radioactive iodine-131 six times higher than normal.
"Following the latest detection of radioactive contaminants in a sample of komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach) imported from the Shizuoka prefecture, the AVA will extend its suspension of import of fruits and vegetables from Shizuoka," the regulator said in a statement issued late Thursday.
The ban makes Shizuoka the eighth Japanese prefecture to have its fresh produce exports to Singapore suspended after Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Chiba, Kanagawa, Tokyo and Saitama.
Fears of pervasive contamination in Japanese foodstuffs were heightened on Monday by reports that radiation above the legal limit was found in beef from Fukushima, where workers are trying to control a leaking nuclear plant.
The power station was crippled by the monster earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan on March 11.
Levels of radioactive iodine in the sea near the plant soared to their highest reading yet on Thursday, at 4,385 times the legal limit.