25 Mar 2011

Europe imposes emergency tests on Japanese food

3:28 pm on 25 March 2011

Europe is imposing emergency tests on imports of Japanese food over fears of radiation contamination.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant was badly damaged after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that devastated the country's north-east coast on 11 March. More than 27,000 people have been officially reported as dead or missing.

Importers will be required to notify national authorities two days before landings of food imports. Physical checks in laboratories will be carried out on at least 10% of the consignments.

The EU move came as up to 10 countries imposed bans or strict controls on food from four prefectures near the stricken plant, about 250km north-east of Tokyo.

A cargo ship has been quarantined on Russia's Pacific Coast, after returning from Japan with high levels of radiation.

The BBC reports the ship sailed near the damaged Fukushima nuclear power station after delivering a cargo of plywood.

Shipping industry officials say German shipping companies are avoiding ports in the Tokyo Bay area due to radiation fears and Japan could face severe supply chain bottlenecks as vessels get diverted.

They say any logistical setbacks could mean major delays and congestion at terminals in Japan, hindering recovery efforts in the wake of the quake and tsunami.