March 16, 2011 / 10:07 PM / in 7 years

EU urges radiation tests on Japanese food imports

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union’s executive arm has advised EU governments to check levels of radioactivity in food and feed imports from Japan, following the country’s nuclear crisis.

The advice was issued to governments on Tuesday via the EU’s rapid alert system for food and feed (RASFF), European Commission health and consumer spokesman Frederic Vincent confirmed on Wednesday.

“But you have to put this into some perspective,” Vincent said, adding that Japan’s total food and feed exports to Europe were worth just 65 million euros ($90.64 million) last year.

By contrast, Japan accounted for over 7 percent of EU agricultural exports worth about 4 billion euros in 2009, according to Commission figures.

Following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, the EU adopted legislation fixing the maximum levels of radioactive contamination allowed in food and feed following a nuclear accident.

Japan’s agricultural exports to Europe consist mainly of fruit and vegetables and fisheries products such as scallops, while Europe exports mainly pork meat, wine and cheese to Japan.

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