Lifting of previous food procurement suspensions
TOKYO, Japan -- The U.S. Army Public Health Command Region-Pacific, after completing comprehensive science-based assessments, implementing monitoring mechanisms and fully evaluating the radiation safety efforts of the Government of Japan, has determined it is safe to lift the food procurement ban on certain locally grown and processed foods.
The military food procurement ban was originally implemented in response to the March 11, 2011, earthquake, tsunami and subsequent Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant radiation release in a precautionary measure to protect the Department of Defense communities. USAPHCR-Pacific has completed an extensive two-year review of the Japanese radiological food surveillance data and concluded that prefecture-specific, locally sourced foods, meeting U.S. Food and Drug Administration and DOD food safety requirements, are again safe to sell in military commissaries.
"On-going radiological monitoring of local foods by the Government of Japan with the Public Health Command Region-Pacific's standing food safety audit and sampling program ensure that all locally procured subsistence items meet or exceed the FDA and DOD food safety standards," said Lt. Col. Brian Kim, Commander, Public Health Command District-Japan. "The food products at the commissary and military food establishments are safe and meet FDA and DOD food safety standards."
A primary responsibility of USPHCR-Pacific food safety professionals is to ensure food sources supplying military installations are safe and meet FDA and DOD food safety standards. According to Kim, that role is now expanded to include enhanced radiological monitoring procedures.
"USPHCR-Pacific has implemented enhanced radiological surveillance procedures to the current food safety and defense program further ensuring only safe food products are being offered at our commissaries."
Commissary patrons should see an increase in availability and selection of fresh produce following the lift of previously banned food products.
"The Defense Commissary Agency considers food safety to be their highest priority," Kim said. "Continued long-term routine monitoring by USAPHCR-Pacific and GOJ will ensure that local food items are safe and in compliance with respective food safety standards."
For more information visit:
- Public Health Command District-Japan website: http://www.usarj.army.mil/organization/vet/
- Public Health Command Region-Pacific website: http://phc.amedd.army.mil/organization/phcrpac/ohs/Pages/HealthPhyics.aspx
- GOJ Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare website on food safety issues: http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/2011eq/#corrected15Aug2012