HK, US block food from Japan as fears rise

08:22, March 24, 2011      

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China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the Food and Drug Administration of the United States, have ordered a ban in imports of food from the area of Japan where the most disastrous radiation leakage in 25 years is happening.

Hong Kong will ban dairy products, vegetables and fruit from Japan's Chiba, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Gunma and Fukushima prefectures from today, after excessive radiation elements have been detected in three vegetable samples there.

Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene Clement Leung said all dairy products, vegetables and fruit harvested or produced in the five Japanese prefectures could not enter Hong Kong unless they were certified by the Japanese government as safe.

Meanwhile, relevant authorities in Beijing in charge of food safety said that China's mainland will also step up screening of food, including fruits and sea products, from Japan. Those found to be polluted by radiation will be barred from sale.

And, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said yesterday it will halt imports of dairy products and produce from the area of Japan where the tsunami-crippled nuclear reactors is leaking radiation. The FDA said those foods will be detained at entry and will not be sold to American public.

Other foods imported from Japan, including seafood, still will be sold to the public but screened first for radiation, FDA officials said.

Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex has been leaking radiation after it was damaged in a devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11. The sea near the nuclear plant has shown elevated levels of radioactive iodine and cesium, prompting the government to test seafood.

Japanese foods make up less than 4 percent of all U.S. imports, and the FDA said it expects no risk to the U.S. food supply from radiation.

The World Health Organization said this week that Japan should act quickly to ensure that no contaminated foods are sold at home and abroad.

By People's Daily Online
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