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Japanese food import checks tightened

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Japanese food import checks tightened
Photo: DPA
11:47 CET+01:00
Germany is demanding tougher inspections of Japanese produce following the partial meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant there, Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Minister Ilse Aigner said Friday.

“From now on, foodstuffs from affected Japanese regions will only be allowed into Germany if they have been strictly inspected and certified in Japan,” she said in Berlin.

“Before shipment, it must be determined that the goods show no increased exposure to radiation.”

The announcement came after the European Union imposed special protective measures on food and feed import security on Thursday evening, a decision Aigner said was merely a precaution.

Set to take effect at the weekend, the European order will force Japanese shipping companies to announce deliveries two days before their arrival to ease processing, while food will only be received and tested at selected inspection sites.

Germany receives just 0.1 percent of its edible goods from Japan.

So far, no radioactive goods have been reported to the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL).

Still, officials remain vigilant as Japan struggles to contain a nuclear meltdown following a massive 9.0-earthquake and tsunami on March 11. Citizens living nearby have been evacuated, while officials in Japan measured high levels of radioactivity this week on vegetables.

On Thursday, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) offered travellers returning from Japan free checks for radioactive contamination.

Though they had not yet detected any alarming levels of radiation among people travelling back from Japan, raised levels could not be ruled out for people who had been to certain areas, the organization said.

DPA/DAPD/ka

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