Canada Tightens Controls On Japanese Food, Animal Feed

Canada has tightened its controls on Japanese imports to include all food and animal feed products from areas affected by Japan’s ongoing nuclear crisis.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said April 1 that it requires documentation proving the safety of food and feed products before it will allow them into Canada.

The federal agency has also begun testing radiation levels of Japanese products, it said.

Last week, Canada said it required documents verifying the safety of milk, fruit and vegetables from four Japanese prefectures. Other countries also have imposed restrictions, and Russia’s food safety body said it may ban seafood from areas near the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The Japanese areas affected by Canada’s import controls are Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Miyagi, Yamagata, Niigata, Nagano, Yamanashi, Saitama, Tokyo and Chiba.

Above-safety radiation levels have been discovered in some types of vegetables from the Fukushima area in northeast Japan, where a six-reactor nuclear plant was battered by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese government has said. Japan has stopped shipments of vegetables and milk from near the plant.

In the U.S., a trace amount of radioactive iodine, well below levels of public health concerns, has been detected in milk from the state of Washington as the U.S. monitors radiation levels amid the nuclear crisis in Japan, U.S. regulators said.

“These types of findings are to be expected in the coming days and are far below levels of public health concern, including for infants and children,” the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency said in a joint statement.

Testing found 0.8 pCi/l of iodine-131, a radioactive form of iodine, in the milk sample.

Although there are naturally occurring levels of radiation in milk, such an isotope is not normally found in milk, but the agencies stressed it was 5,000 times lower than the FDA’s standard, known as the “defined intervention level.”

“These findings are a minuscule amount compared to what people experience every day,” FDA scientist Patricia Hansen said in a statement.

The EPA said it has increased radiation monitoring in U.S. milk, precipitation and drinking water in response to radiation leaks at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant following the earthquake March 11.

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