EU implements stricter radiation testing on Japanese food imports
Brussels – The European Union on Friday gave final approval to a decrease in the radiation levels it allows in food from Japan, amid continuing fears about contamination from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant.
The European Commission said the move was ‘precautionary.’
‘All the checks carried out up to now by member states of Japanese food imports demonstrate negligible levels of radioactivity, which are significantly below existing standards,’ it said in a statement.
Food and feed from the 12 most affected prefectures is currently tested consistently by Japanese authorities and randomly by EU officials. The commission noted that there are ‘nearly no exports’ coming out of those prefectures.
Products from Japan’s remaining 35 prefectures are also undergoing random EU tests.
Previously, the tests were being conducted based on radiation levels that were set in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
EU officials had repeatedly defended the measures as adequate and stressed that Japanese food imports to the bloc are minimal. They had nevertheless been dogged by questions on whether the radiation levels being tested for were low enough.
The commission, working with scientific experts, will now review whether the Chernobyl-era radiation testing levels should be amended, with the analysis due to be completed by the summer.