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EU to maintain safety checks on food from Japan

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(BRUSSELS) - The European Union will extend until year's end checks on potential radioactive contamination in food imports from certain regions of Japan, the EU's executive said Friday.

A European Commission statement said controls on food from Japan adopted last March after the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster would be enforced until December 31 and be reviewed every month.

The controls "will continue to apply to all feed and food originating in or consigned from 12 prefectures of Japan," the statement said.

The products are tested for the presence of iodine-131, caesium-134 and caesium-137 before leaving Japan. They are also subject to reinforced testing regime in the EU.

"Feed and food products from the remaining 35 Japanese prefectures will have to be accompanied by a declaration stating the prefecture of origin," the Commission added.

Cooling systems and backup generators failed at the Japanese plant in the wake of a 14-metre tsunami spawned by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake on March 11.

The accident triggered reactor meltdowns at the plant 220 kilometres (136 miles) northeast of Tokyo and spewed radiation into the environment.

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