Growing global anxiety over Japanese food
AUSTRALIA, Canada and Singapore have joined a list of countries shunning Japanese food imports as radioactive steam wafts anew from a disaster-struck nuclear plant, straining nerves in Tokyo.
As the grim toll of dead and missing from Japan’s monster quake and tsunami on March 11 topped 25,000, hundreds of thousands remained huddled in evacuation shelters and fears grew in the megacity of Tokyo over water safety.
The damage to the Fukushima nuclear plant from the tectonic calamity and a series of explosions has stoked global anxiety.
The United States and Hong Kong have already restricted Japanese food and France wants the EU to do the same.
Australia also ordered a halt to food imports from four prefectures near the charred plant 250km northeast of Tokyo, including seaweed and seafood, milk, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables.
It said, however, t hat Japanese food already on store shelves was safe, as it had been shipped before the quake, and that ‘‘ the risk of Australian consumers being exposed to radio - nuclides in food imported from Japan is negligible’’.
Singapore also suspended imports of milk products and other foodstuffs from the four prefectures and Canada implemented enhanced import controls on products from the quartet.
FOOD SCARE: US Navy officials halted air operations from USS Reagan this week to clean the ship of contamination from radioactive plume it had passed while carrying out humanitarian relief operations. The United States and Hong Kong have already restricted Japanese food while Australia, Canada and Singapore have also ordered a halt to imports