Keeping the international food supply safe, follow

Keeping the international food supply safe, following the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear emergency in Japan

March 28, 2011

The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear emergency were a devastating blow to the people of Japan.  Our hearts go out to those who continue to suffer extreme hardships as these unfortunate events continue to evolve.  What is occurring is very complicated and unprecedented.  These conditions are being closely monitored and the experts' assessments are regularly relayed to regulators worldwide.

While some regions experienced some minor effects of the tsunami, the level of radiation that could potentially reach countries beyond Japan is anticipated to be very low and winds will dissipate it further. To ensure the safety of imported food, some countries including Australia, Hong Kong and the USA have banned the import of milk, vegetables and fruit grown in areas near the damaged Japanese nuclear plant because of contamination fears.  Canada has implemented enhanced import controls on products from affected regions and South Korea is considering similar measures.

We have learned that health authorities in the Asia region, including China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands and India have begun testing any Japanese imported fresh produce for possible contamination by radioactive fallout.  The European Union is taking similar action.  Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency has advised local boats not to fish in Japanese waters, and will check all catches and will destroy any with excess radioactivity.

The World Health Organization has cautioned people against self-medication with potassium iodide or products containing iodine, which they have stressed should only be taken when there is a clear recommendation from public health authorities, as in the case of an acute and direct nuclear emergency.

If you would like to know more about the risks of radiation please consult the following resources: