Japan decided on Monday to stop shipments of spinach and raw milk from the areas near the disaster-stricken nuclear complex amid growing concerns over contaminated food and water in the Tokyo Metropolitan area.
The government instructed four prefectures, including Fukushima Prefecture, to halt the shipments of the relevant products after tests found radiation levels in the products exceeded safety limits, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference.
Edano, however, said the radiation-contaminated foods pose no immediate threat to human health, urging consumers to remain calm.
On Sunday, spinach with radioactive iodine 27 times more than Japan’s legal standard was found in Ibaraki Prefecture, more than 100 km south of the Fukushima Daiichi (No.1) nuclear power plant, but the local authorities said the radiation levels do not affect human health.
The Fukushima plant, located 230 km north of Tokyo, was crippled by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that resulted in a series of explosions and radiation leaks.
In Beijing, the Chinese government has instructed local authorities to monitor food imported from Japan for radiation following the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima plant, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Monday.
“Local quality watchdogs should test food from Japan for radiation to ensure the safety of China’s food imports,” the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said, according to Xinhua.
In 2010, bilateral trade between China and Japan reached USD 303.06 billion, with China importing USD 593 million worth of agricultural products from Japan, the report said. But the volume accounted for only 0.33 percent of Japan’s total exports to China.