EU extends Japan import controls after radioactive tea leaves found

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Related tags: European union, Japan

Import controls of food from Japan have been strengthened after a thirteenth prefecture was added to the list of areas liable for extra scrutiny over fears of radiation contamination.

The European Commission said today that Kanagawa had become the latest Japanese region for which special measures on shipments of food and feed applied following the earthquake and tsunami that lead to a nuclear catastrophe at the Fukushima site in March.

The measure was announced after authorities in the country detected caesium above accepted levels in green tea leaves originating from the prefecture. Levels between 570 and 780 becquerels of caesium per kilo (Bq/kg) were found in a batch of green tea leaves. The maximum limit of caesium presence is 500 bq/kg.

Under EU Regulation 297/2011 all food from these 13 prefectures has to be tested for the presence of iodine-131, caesium-134 and caesium-137 before leaving Japan. They are also subject to a tougher testing regime in the EU - including physical checks and laboratory analysis carried out on at least 10 per cent of the consignments.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety

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