Food Law News - EU - 2012

Commission Midday Express, 28 February 2012

CONTAMINANTS - Food safety: EU measures adopted after Japan's nuclear incident prolonged until the end of October 2012

At a meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH), Member States endorsed yesterday a Commission proposal for the prolongation of the existing reinforced controls on imports of food and feed from certain regions of Japan.

The controls will apply until 31 October 2012 but will be reviewed regularly. The decision also reduces the frequency of the controls as the risk is now significantly lower.

The controls were originally adopted on 24 March 2011 and were different for the feed and food originating in or consigned from 11 prefectures (Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Miyagi, Shizuoka, Yamanashi, Saitama, Tokyo, Kanagawa and Chiba) of Japan and for products from the remaining 36 Japanese prefectures. All food and feed products coming from the 11 prefectures have had to be tested for the presence of caesium-134 and caesium-137 before leaving Japan. They also have been subject to a reinforced testing regime in the EU (i.e. physical checks, including laboratory analysis carried out on at least 10% of the consignments).

While feed and food products from the remaining 36 Japanese prefectures have had to be accompanied by a declaration stating the prefecture of origin and also tested upon arrival in the EU (at least 20 % of the consignments. The results of these checks carried by the competent authorities at import into the Union indicate that the control measures have been correctly and efficiently applied by the Japanese authorities. It is therefore appropriate to reduce the frequency of checks carried out on such consignments from 10% to 5 % and from 20 % to 10 % respectively.

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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