REUTERS - Several countries have banned milk and produce from the areas near Japan’s tsunami-damaged nuclear plant because of contamination fears.
Food makes up 1 percent of Japanese exports, according to World Bank data. Japan has already stopped shipments of vegetables and milk from near the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant in the country’s northeast.
Following are steps countries have taken to test or block Japanese food imports (* indicates a new or updated entry):
India’s government imposed a three-month ban on imports of food articles from Japan. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India will review the status of radiation hazards on food from Japan on a weekly basis and the ban could be extended until radiation fears subside, the government said.
Russia may ban seafood from areas near the Fukushima nuclear plant. Russia is “studying the situation at 300 Japanese fish processing plants in the danger zone” and is likely to restrict imports from more than 200 of them, the chief of Russia’s food safety body Rosselkhoznadzor said, according to Itar-Tass news agency.
Singapore has told the U.N. nuclear watchdog IAEA that some cabbages imported from Japan had radiation levels up to nine times the levels recommended for international trade.
In late March , Singapore suspended the import of milk, meat and produce from areas near the Fukushima nuclear power plant due to radiation contamination.
The import ban on the four prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma covers milk, milk products, fruits and vegetables, seafood and meat.
The government has also suspended fruit and vegetable imports from the prefectures of Kanagawa, Tokyo and Saitama.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it requires documentation proving the safety of Japanese food and feed products before it will allow them into Canada. The agency has also started testing Japanese products for radiation.
China has banned the import of some Japanese food and agricultural products on fears they could be contaminated by radiation from the earthquake-damaged nuclear plant.
The ban covers dairy, aquatic and vegetable products as well as fruit from five Japanese prefectures. China is also stepping up radiation checks on other food products from those and other parts of Japan, China’s quality watchdog said.
It said in a statement that the restrictions were needed “to ensure the safety of food and agricultural imports to China”.
Vietnam’s Agriculture Ministry has tightened radiation checks on food imported from Japan and its agencies will pay close attention to seafood and meat imported from Fukushima, a state-run newspaper said.
The official Saigon Giai Phong daily said all farm products from Japan will also be examined by an agency in charge of agricultural product quality.
South Korea banned food imports from four areas of Japan affected by the nuclear crisis until radiation concerns are lifted, the prime minister’s office said in a statement.
The ban applies to food products from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma prefectures and could be expanded if necessary.
It said tests of food products from Japan had yet to uncover any instances of radiation contamination.
Taiwan will stop imports of foodstuffs from five Japanese prefectures due to the nuclear crisis, the island’s health authority said on Friday.
Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency had also advised local boats not to fish in Japanese waters after radiation was detected in the sea around the Fukushima nuclear plant.
The agency will check all catches on fishing boats returning from Japanese waters and destroy any catches with radioactivity exceeding permitted limits.
The European Union will reinforce radiation controls on imports of food and animal feed from. Food and feed from the 12 worst affected prefectures will have to be tested for radionuclides before leaving Japan, and be accompanied by a declaration from the Japanese authorities that they do not breach EU radiation limits, the European Commission said in a statement.
Thailand will test all fruit and vegetable imports from Japan for possible radiation contamination, Pipat Yingsaree, secretary-general of Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration, said on Thursday.
Pipat said the authorities had asked importers and distributors to avoid or at least reduce imports of Japanese food products including meat, dairy products, seafood and seaweed.
Australia’s government is set to restrict food imports from areas near the nuclear power plant, but said the risk to consumers was negligible due to the limited amounts being brought in.
Australia’s regulator Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) said on its website that it was a “precautionary measure, and consistent with approaches internationally”.
Germany has started extra checks on Japanese food imports to ensure they are free from radioactivity, Germany’s Agriculture and Consumer Protection Ministry said on Wednesday.
No suspect food has yet been found.
France has started testing for the level of radioactivity of all fresh food products from Japan, such as shellfish and fish, there had been no direct imports from Japan into France since the earthquake, the farm ministry said on Tuesday.
A ban on food imports is not envisioned unless a test proves positive.
Britain said it is screening food imports from Japan, mainly fish and shellfish, for the presence of radioactive material. No contaminated food has yet been found.
The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority said it has started extra checking Japanese food imports for radiation. These checks will be implemented at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and Rotterdam port, Europe’s biggest.
At this stage, no contaminated food has been found in the Netherlands.
Bans food and milk products from five prefectures in Japan after samples of turnip and spinach were showed contaminants 2.6 to 10 times over the permissible limit.
Testing all consignments from Japan. Health Ministry is monitoring the situation daily but has no plans to ban so far.
Not recommending any ban on food imports from Japan but will continue to conduct random tests for radiation.
The United States has blocked imports of milk and fresh produce from areas of Japan near the Fukushima power plant.
All milk and milk products and fresh fruits and vegetables from four Japanese prefectures -- Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma -- have been stopped from entering the United States.
The U.S. Evironmental Protection Agency has increased radiation monitoring in U.S. milk, precipitation and drinking water in response to the Fukushima plant accident. Late last month, it detected a trace amount of radioactive iodine in milk from the state of Washington, but this was well below levels that would trigger health concerns.
Reporting by Reuters bureaux worldwide