The amount of radiation in food products will be lowered from five millisieverts per year to one, announces Japanese Health Minister Yoko Komiyama.
The announcement, however, has left experts puzzled, The Japan Times reports.
Permanent limits for various categories of food would reportedly be set based on recommendations submitted on Thursday by the government's food panel. The current limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram of radiation for meat, fish and vegetables is also expected to be lowered by about one-fifth in April.
Citing findings from various studies, the food safety panel has concluded that a cumulative dose of 100 millisieverts or more throughout one's lifetime poses significant health risks.
However, experts have questioned the focus solely on internal exposure from food and drink, while ignoring external exposure from radioactive materials, such as fallout on the ground, roofs and in ditches.
"I can't think of a reason why they decided to omit external exposure as a factor in the proposal this time," Dr. Eisuke Matsui, who heads the Gifu Environmental Medicine Research Institute, said.
A radiology expert said that while consuming food contaminated with radiation is a far bigger risk to human health than being exposed to radiation from the environment, it does not mean it can be disregarded.
"Think of the children in the cities of Fukushima or Minamisoma, where there is a relatively high level of radiation in the environment. Any guideline on radiation should consider the total exposure and not only the limit of contaminated food one can consume," Matsui said.
Japan suffered a heavy setback after the March 11 earthquake-cum-tsunami, which led to the leakage of radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, thereby contaminating food articles in nearby areas.