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US bars entry of some Japanese food products news
24 March 2011

Following the disaster at Japan's Fukushima nuclear facility, all milk, milk products, fresh vegetables and fruit from the prefecture nearest to the stricken plant would be barred from entering into the US, according to a spokesperson for the US Food and Drug Administration. 

All other food products produced or manufactured in the prefectures- Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma would be diverted for testing, according to the spokesperson.  The spokesperson added that food products from other parts of Japan would undergo tests as resources allow, but the FDA is mainly focused on food from these four areas.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was extensively damaged by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on 11March. Meanwhile, efforts are on to bring the plant's cooling systems back online and stabilise the situation.

Several food products have already been officially off the shelf in domestic and export markets. Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan had previously ordered the governors of these four prefectures to halt the distribution of spinach and the local vegetable kakina. He had also told the governor of Fukushima to halt all raw milk distribution, according to the FDA.

The FDA would continue to flag all entries from Japan to determine if their origin was the affected area according to the spokesperson.

At four locations in Fukushima, milk was found to contain levels of radioactive iodine ranging around 20 per cent over the acceptable limit to more than 17 times that limit according to Japanese officials on Sunday. Tests at one location also revealed levels of cesium about 5 per cent over the acceptable limit, the health ministry reported Sunday.

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US bars entry of some Japanese food products