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Europe hits Japanese food imports with emergency tests

(BRUSSELS) - Europe imposed emergency tests on imports of Japanese food Thursday over fears of radiation contamination, following the nuclear crisis triggered by an earthquake and tsunami.

"The measures apply to all feed and food" originating in or consigned from areas "most affected by the accident" at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the European Commission said in a statement.

Deliveries must come "accompanied by a declaration, to be provided by the Japanese authorities, attesting that the product does not contain levels of radionuclides that exceed the EU's maximum permitted levels."

Radioactive elements listed under the special regulation are: iodine-131, caesium-134 and caesium-137.

Importers will be required to notify national authorities two days before landings and physical checks in labs "will be carried out on at least 10 percent of the consignments."

The tightened rules, agreed by European Union food safety experts, are expected to come into force on Saturday when they are published in the EU's Official Journal, its record of law.

The EU commission says Japan may export to the EU fishery products, bivalve molluscs (seafood), casings and pet food as well as fruit and vegetables.

Imports to the EU of Japanese agricultural products were worth just over 200 million euros in 2010.

The heads of state and government of the 27 EU states will discuss aid to Japan, as well as energy supply implications and the consequences for nuclear security across the EU's ageing and planned new reactors after the Fukushima accident.


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