Here is what you need to know about the viral claim, and the truth behind the FDA import alert 99-33 on Japanese food!
Claim : FDA Issued Import Alert 99-33, Banning Japanese Food!
This message has gone viral on and off over the years, being shared again and again on WhatsApp, and social media. It’s long, so feel free to skip to the next section for the facts…
The Truth About FDA Import Alert 99-33 On Japanese Food!
This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS created by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛) to scare people into boycotting Japan and Japanese food, and here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : FDA Issued Import Alert #99-33 In March 2011
On March 11, 2011, Japan was hit by a massive tsunami triggered by a 9-magnitude earthquake off its Pacific coast. The force of the tsunami greatly damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, contaminating the surrounding area with radioactive material.
The Government of Japan determined that certain food products in affected prefectures were therefore not fit for human consumption, due to the risk of contamination by the radioactive material. They banned those food products from sale within Japan, and for export.
The US FDA responded by issuing Import Alert #99-33 – “Detention Without Physical Examination of Products from Japan due to Radionuclide Contamination.”
That part of the viral post is true, but everything else is false.
Fact #2 : FDA Import Alert #99-33 Was Limited To Certain Prefectures
The FDA Import Alert #99-33 did not ban the import of all Japanese food products, as the viral post claimed.
It only targeted Japan’s own restrictions at the prefecture level, using Section 801(a)(2) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act:
Fact #3 : FDA Cancelled Import Alert #99-33 In September 2021
On September 21, 2022, the US FDA deactivated (cancelled) Import Alert #99-33. Since then, there has been no ban on any food product from the five affected prefectures of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki.
Despite this cancellation of the import ban more than a year ago, the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛) continues to spread this fake story on WhatsApp and social media.
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Fact #4 : Australia Did Not Stop Issuing Visa To Japanese Travellers
Australia never suspended visa issuance for Japanese travels over the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
Fact #5 : US Did Not Suspend Japanese Immigration
The United States never suspended immigration of Japanese citizens over the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
Fact #6 : Japan Did Not Supply Contaminated Food To Tourists
This claim has been repeatedly promoted by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛), and is categorically false.
Japan did not reserve their contaminated food supply for consumption by tourists, while importing food for their own citizens. Neither did Chinese tourists to Japan suffer “strange diseases of varying degrees”.
Those are just lies created by the wumao to scare Chinese citizens into boycotting Japan and Japanese food products.
Fact #7 : Fukushima Radiation Only Affected A Small Area Of Japan
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident did not affect 70% of Japanese territory.
The Government of Japan established a 30 kilometre no-fly zone, and a 20 kilometre exclusion zone, around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Aerial survey of the radioactive caesium levels in May 2012 show that only a small part of Japan was affected.
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Fact #8 : Harmful Radionuclides Were Removed From Wastewater
Both fresh water and seawater were used to cool down the melting nuclear fuel rods and spent fuel rods stored at the facility.
Measures were quickly taken to block the seepage of the contaminated wastewater into the sea and water table. For example, TEPCO poured a 60 cm-thick concrete wall covering 70,000 square meters of ocean seabed.
There were occasional accidental discharges of radioactive wastewater, but generally the radioactive wastewater was stored in massive storage tanks and treated using the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS).
ALPS removed harmful radionuclides like caesium and strontium from the wastewater, leaving only tritium – a mildly radioactive and far less harmful hydrogen isotope.
Fact #9 : Decontaminated Wastewater Used To Keep Reactors Cooled
The water treatment system became fully-functional, together with water recycling systems on 3 July 2011.
The decontaminated wastewater thereafter is 100% reused to keep the reactors cooler, so no additional volume of contaminated water would be generated.
Fact #10 : Excess Decontaminated Wastewater To Be Released
A large amount of treated wastewater remain at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, and on April 13, 2021, the Government of Japan announced that the treated wastewater will be released in 2023.
The US FDA says that the treated wastewater presents an “extremely low” health risk even if consumed, which is rather minimised because it’s being discharged into the vast ocean.
According to scientific experts from interagency advisory teams and FDA representatives to the US Advisory Team for Environment, Food and Health, the release of the treated wastewater will have “no effect on the safety of foods imported from Japan“.
In other words, the FDA considers food from Japan to be perfectly safe to import and consume, even after the treated wastewater is released into the ocean.
This is just another example of Chinese propaganda created by the infamous 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛).
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