Fearing Radiation, Hotels Pull Japanese Products From Kitchens
Concerns over possible food contamination by radiation, in light of damage to a nuclear power plant in Japan, have prompted some hotels and airlines in Asia to stop using Japanese products.
The Mandarin Oriental International, Hilton Worldwide, Shangri-La Asia and Marriott International hotel companies and Cathay Pacific Airways are among travel businesses in Asia that have made changes to their menus, reports Bloomberg News.
Higher-than-normal radiation was found in spinach and milk samples from the area around the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, damaged in the March 11 magnitude-9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Japan has halted spinach shipments and told residents around the nuclear plant not to drink tap water.
The World Health Organization said today that the radiation in food was a "serious situation," eclipsing clear signs of progress in a battle to avert a catastrophic meltdown in the nuclear reactors, reports the Vancouver Sun.
"Our guests' safety is our top priority," Sari Yong, a spokeswoman for Shangri-La Asia hotels, told Bloomberg. "As a precaution, we have temporarily stopped importing fresh food from Japan."
Mandarin Oriental has withdrawn Japanese fresh food from its kitchens and will use non-Japanese suppliers to substitute Japanese produce. Its flagship Hong Kong location has already "taken the sensible precaution to temporarily suspend all food imports from Japan until the situation stabilizes," said spokeswoman Sally DeSouza, reports the news outlet.
JW Marriott Hotel in Hong Kong has stopped ordering food from Japan and several Hilton hotels in Asia have stopped buying fresh or raw food from Japan.
Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong's biggest carrier, is serving meals prepared in Hong Kong on its flights from Japan to Hong Kong, Chief Executive Officer Tony Tyler said last week.