Europe monitoring Japanese food, feed imports to control radioactivity

Regulations include additional documentation, cargo checks

In the wake of the accident at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power station, the European Commission has released measures, including documentation requirements and cargo analyses, to ensure that food or feed coming in from the country is within accepted limits for radioactive contamination.

Products must have accompanying documentation stating that they either left Japan before March 28, 2011, or were harvested or processed before March 11, 2011. Products coming from any prefectures affected by radiation must have additional documentation as proof of compliant analyse. The authorities at arrival will carry out documentary checks on all consignments and will carry out analyses on 20% of consignments for products originating from affected prefectures and 10% of consignments from other prefectures. Endorsement of the declaration by the Border control authority will be necessary for the release for free circulation. Non-conforming products will be disposed of or returned to Japan.

In Regulation (EU) N° 297/2011, the Commission has expanded upon the requirements:

  • Measures apply to all feedstuffs and foodstuffs as defined under Regulation 3954/87 (feedstuffs means products which are intended only for animal nutrition), including specialty feed ingredients and their mixtures.
  • Measures do not apply to products that left Japan before March 28, 2011, or products that have been harvested and/or processed before March 11, 2011.
  • The measure requires that each consignment shall be accompanied by a declaration to be issued by the Japanese authorities attesting that product has either been harvested before March 11, 2011 or is not originating from the prefectures of Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Miyagi, Yamagata, Niigata, Nagano, Yamanashi, Saitama, Tokyo or Chiba. If the product is originating from one of the prefectures listed above, proof of compliant analyse have to be provided with the declaration.
  • A single identifying code for the product must be used on the declaration and the certificate of analysis, and on any document accompanying the consignment.
  • Prior notification of arrival of all consignments must be provided at last two working days in advance of physical arrival to Border Inspection Point.
  • As far as feed is concerned, these permitted levels of radioactive contamination are limited to caesium 134 and caesium 137 as follows: 1,250 Bq/kg for pig feedingstuffs;  2,500 Bq/kg for poultry, lamb, calves feedingstuffs; and 5000 Bq/kg for other feedingstuffs.

These measures will be in place until June 30, 2011.