EU Strengthens Controls on Imports from Japan
    2011-04-08 22:34:12     Xinhua       Web Editor: Sun

The European Union announced Friday additional safety provisions for the import of food and feed from Japan due to the ongoing crisis at the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

At a meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH), member states endorsed a European Commission proposal to lower the acceptable maximum levels of certain radioactive elements in food and feed (iodine-131, caesium-134 and caesium-137).

"The new levels are now consistent with levels which have been applied by the Japanese authorities in the aftermath of the nuclear accident," a EU press release said.

As with earlier provisions, the new measures apply to all feed and food originating in, or consigned from, 12 prefectures of Japan, including those most affected by the accident.

All products from these prefectures are to be tested before leaving Japan and are subject to a reinforced testing regime in the EU. Feed and food products from the remaining 35 prefectures have to be accompanied by a declaration indicating the prefecture of origin, before being randomly tested upon arrival in the EU. The Union said it would review the measures and strengthen them further, if new information required.

The Commission underlined the precautionary nature of the new measures and said all the checks carried out up to now by member states of Japanese food imports demonstrated negligible levels of radioactivity, which are significantly below existing standards. Furthermore, the Japanese authorities had informed the Commission services there were currently almost no exports from the 12 prefectures concerned.

The maximum permitted levels would be re-assessed by a committee of scientific experts in the near future and, if necessary, would be revised to have standards that could be uniformly applied to imports, according to the press release.

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