All milk and milk products as well as fruits and vegetables produced or manufactured from the four Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma will be detained upon entry into the United States, according to a recently updated U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Alert. The food will not be allowed to enter the U.S. food supply unless it tests free of radiation. Other foods that are exported from the four prefectures, like seafood, are not subject the alert but will also be diverted and tested before being made available to the public. The hardest hit parts of Japan – including those areas closest to the damaged nuclear plant – are exporting few if any products at this time as the country’s focus has turned to rebuilding and getting operations back up and running.
The FDA uses an import tracking system that will flag all FDA-regulated products coming from Japan. Prior to the earthquake and subsequent radiation crisis, United States Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents routinely screened imports, including food products, for radiation. This is done primarily for national security purposes. The FDA is working with CBP agents on pooling resources to help better identify shipments of FDA-related products.
The FDA is also monitoring and testing some food produced in other areas of the country, in case the dangerous radiation has spread. The FDA Alert is intended to augment the stringent safety measures being taken by the Japanese government to ensure contaminated foods aren't being exported.
Read the full FDA report here. It includes a links to the actual FDA alert as well as information on common foods imported from Japan and how the radiation testing works.
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