Food Law News - EU - 2011

Commission’s Midday Expres, 24 May 2011

CONTAMINATION - Food Safety: EU amends regulation governing imports of Japanese food and feed

The European Commission has added Kanagawa to the list of 12 prefectures (Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Miyagi, Yamagata, Niigata, Nagano, Yamanashi, Saitama, Tokyo and Chiba) of Japan, for which special measures on the imports of feed and food apply, after the Japanese authorities detected caesium above the accepted levels in green tea leaves originating from Kanagawa.

Specifically, levels between 570 and 780 becquerels of caesium per kilo of green tea leaves (Bq/kg) were found in a batch of tea leaves. The maximum limit of caesium presence is 500 bq/kg. The Commission adopted yesterday an amendment to Regulation (EU) 297/2011 making Kanagawa the 13th prefecture on the list. All food and feed products coming from these 13 prefectures have to be tested for the presence of iodine-131, caesium-134 and caesium-137 before leaving Japan. They are also subject to a reinforced testing regime in the EU (i.e. physical checks, including laboratory analysis, are carried out on at least 10% of the consignments of food or feed coming from these prefectures). Feed and food products from the remaining 34 Japanese prefectures will have to be accompanied by a declaration stating the prefecture of origin and will be randomly tested upon arrival in the EU.

The measures are applicable until 30 September 2011, but will be reviewed monthly in the meantime. The Commission underlines that for a series of reasons, food safety risks from the nuclear accident in Japan are considerably low in the EU. Nevertheless, the Commission remains vigilant and has been active in ensuring that food and feed entering the EU from Japan is safe.

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