EU extends food import restrictions

Kyodo

The European Commission said Tuesday it will extend restrictions on imports of Japanese food products to the European Union, imposed last March when the nuclear crisis started, until the end of this October.

The European Union’s executive body decided to continue to require such products to go through checks for radioactive contamination, a move that was backed by EU member states even though almost a year has passed since the crisis erupted.

But the commission also decided to reduce the frequency of sample inspections on Japanese food products when they are transported to the EU region as it has determined that the possibility of the products containing radioactive materials surpassing Europe’s allowable levels is currently “considerably low.”

Food products from 11 prefectures, including Fukushima, Miyagi and Tokyo, must be accompanied by certificates indicating radiation levels when they are exported to the EU, while those from the remaining 36 prefectures must have certificates of origin.