Singapore: Japanese restaurants are turning to alternative food suppliers in Norway, Indonesia and Malaysia
Demand for Japanese food remains strong in Singapore, with supermarkets like Cold Storage reporting that sales of Japanese products remain stable so far. The supermarket has put up signs stating that the Japanese imports it carries are from unaffected regions of Japan and are tested by the AVA.
SINGAPORE: Japanese restaurants in Singapore have turned to alternative food suppliers, following safety concerns over radiation contamination.
While the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has found no evidence of contamination, some restaurants are not taking any chances.
At the Standing Sushi Bar, business has dipped by 10 to 20 per cent since the Fukushima nuclear plant incident, with customers expressing concerns over food safety.
Executive chef Roy Chee said he is confident that food products exported by Japan are safe for consumption due to high standards observed.
But to ease fears, the restaurant is suspending such imports for a week or two, until the situation stabilises. Mr Chee said that for now, his restaurants will rely on frozen stock and substitutes from Norway, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Sakae Sushi, which has 37 outlets, also expressed full trust in Japanese products.
CEO Douglas Foo added that both the AVA and Sakae conducts separate tests, which increases food safety standards.
About 20 per cent of their products are from Japan but their suppliers are facing logistical issues.
Mr Foo said: "After the incident happened, a lot of the logistics chain has been broken. And I think it will take a while for it to get back on track. All along we have contacts with other countries, usually of the same ingredients in case any such incident happens. Sometimes as far as Canada, New Zealand."
Mr Foo said there has been no noticeable dip in business. He attributes this to customers trusting that safety measures are in place.
Last year, seafood imported from Japan made up less than two per cent of Singapore''s total seafood imports. And the import of other food products from Japan is negligible, less than 0.5 per cent.
Still, the authorities are not taking any chances and have stepped up checks. It added that there have been no food imports from affected regions in Japan since the start of the Fukushima incident.