Russia joins rush of nations tightening import controls on Japanese seafood

.Rospotrebnadzor's Anna Popova.

Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s consumer protection agency, will tighten supervision of imports of Japanese seafood if that country moves ahead with a plan to release radioactive water from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean.

In a 7 July announcement, Rospotrebnadzor said it had concerns about potential contamination of seafood caught in Japan.

"In order to prevent water bio-resources and food produced of them in Japan, including fish, fish products, seafood, etc., with a higher concentration of radionuclides from flowing into the territory of the Russian Federation, Rospotrebnadzor has ordered its territorial departments to ramp up sanitary and quarantine controls as regards the importation of said goods and tighten turnover control," the Russian regulator told Interfax.

Russia implemented a ban on Japanese food imports following the meltdown at the nuclear facility following an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, but exemptions are granted contingent upon the receipt of a declaration issued by the Japanese government certifying concentrations of radioactive substances in the product are lower than normative levels stipulated under applicable laws. A certificate identifying the level of radioactive cesium content must be attached to the declaration, according to Interfax.

Russia is one of several nations that has said it will impose stricter import controls on Japanese seafood, with China doing the same on 6 July and South Korea and Hong Kong making announcements at the beginning of July.

China also has an import ban on all Japanese seafood that was introduced after the March 2011 meltdowns, but it has offered partial exemptions for 37 of Japan’s 47 prefectures in recent years. Its announcement of potential implementation of additional food safety measures is designed to allow China to fully ban food imports from Japan at any time so that it can use the import ban as a diplomatic card, according to The Japan Times.

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report issued 4 July said the planned discharge of the treated water would have a negligible radiological impact to people and the environment.

Photo courtesy of Maksim Konstantinov/Shutterstock


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