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Nation joins Japanese food ban

2015-09-020BrowseIndex

Shoppers scan the imported food selection at a supermarket in Shanghai. The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has banned the import of some agricultural products from Japan. Photo: CFP China has joined a growing number of countries in banning some food products from select areas in Japan over radiation contamination fears, government officials announced Friday.

The nation's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said it halted fish, dairy products, vegetables and fruits from five prefectures located near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The regulatory body has also vowed to tighten up inspection procedures on all products originating from Japan. "This is the right decision for the government to make to keep consumers safe," Huang Bin told the Global Times, while shopping for seafood at Japanese supermarket chain, Beijing Hualian Group (BHG), Sunday. "I didn't check the origin of products before, but I do now." At BHG's Dawang Lu branch in Beijing on Sunday, Japanese seafood products were nowhere to be seen on the store's shelves. "We don't have any fish from Japan; It's been a while," said the salesman who did not want to be named. Supermarkets and restaurants in Beijing have been distancing themselves from Japanese products. "We are not worried because we use fish from Norway," said Man Sha, assistant manager of Hatsune Restaurant Co. "We haven't been affected by the government's decision or the radiation leak," said an assistant to BHG's branch manager, who asked to be referred to by her surname, Zhou, only.

International concern that radioactive contamination will enter the food chain is spreading across the region and beyond. Earlier last week, the United States, Russia and Australia banned specific Japanese products or strengthened inspection procedures, followed by Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea. Italy has banned all products from Japan over contamination worries. The ban on food imports from Japan came after the Japanese government blocked certain foods from several prefectures that reported high levels of radioactivity including Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma. Also last week, a Japanese merchant vessel in the port city of Xiamen in Fujian Province was found to contain high levels of radioactivity. Customs' authorities announced two Japanese tourists arrived Wednesday with radiation levels that were abnormally high, although it didn't release the identities of the travelers. Meanwhile, as the effects of the radiation leak reduce Japanese domestic demand, neighboring countries China and South Korea have seen an increase in exports of products such as vegetables and instant noodles to Japan.