Food Law News - EU - 2011

Commission Midday Express, 24 November 2011

CONTAMINANTS - EU measures on imports from Japan to be prolonged until end of March 2012

The European Union will prolong for another three months the measures on imports of food and feed from Japan originally adopted on March 24 after the incident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

At a meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH), Member States endorsed the Commission proposal on measures which will be applicable until March 31, 2012. The Japanese authorities monitor intensively the presence of radioactivity in feed and food. It can be observed from the reported analytical results that certain feed and food in prefectures close to the Fukushima Daichii nuclear power station continue to contain levels of radioactivity above the maximum levels. Therefore the applicability of the measures is extended by three additional months until end of March 2012.

Taking into account the extensive information received in the past few months the following alleviations to the current measures are introduced: delisting of the prefecture Nagano from the zone with EU restrictions, whereby the 100 % testing on radioactivity before export of feed and food from the prefecture Nagano is no longer required; testing of I-131 is no longer required. Given that the half-life of iodine-131 is short (about 8 days) and no new releases of iodine-131 to the environment have been recently reported, the presence of iodine-131 is no longer observed in feed and food or the environment; facilitating the issuance of declarations attesting the origin of the feed and food.

The competent authority of Japan is authorised to appoint – under its supervision - an instance which will sign these declarations. The Commission underlines that for a series of reasons, food safety risks from the nuclear accident in Japan are considerably low in the EU. This is confirmed by the controls carried out by Member States on food and feed at import. Nevertheless, the Commission remains vigilant and has been active in ensuring that food and feed entering the EU from Japan is safe.

The measures adopted today will continue to be reviewed every month.

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