FDA Bans Importation Of Milk and Vegetables From Japanese Nuclear Plant Area
The LA Times reports:
In addition to prohibiting those products from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma prefectures, any other food imports from those regions will be automatically diverted for screening upon arrival at U.S. ports and will be permitted to enter the country only if radiation tests are negative, according to an FDA statement.
Japanese authorities already have barred the shipment of raw milk and spinach from one or more of the prefectures because of radiation concerns.
The Christian Science Monitor writes that there isn't a big chance that contaminated Japanese food will reach the U.S., anyway:
Japanese food imports account for only four percent of total US food imports, according to the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA’s import tracking system has been set to automatically flag shipments of regulated Japanese consumables.
So far, the nuclear accidents haven't affected most of Japan's farm animals or vegetation. However, the New York Times reported this weekend that some Japanese farmers and fishermen are worried that the association with radioactive contamination will damage the reputation of the country's iconic sushi and Kobe beef:
“If the accident becomes bigger, like Chernobyl, it will damage all the brands and people won’t buy any of it, even if it’s safe,” said Hiroshi Uchida, a former professor of agricultural science, speaking of Kobe, Sendai and other brands of high-priced, top-quality Japanese beef. “Even though the government hasn’t mentioned the possibility of contamination of beef, we should start testing to convince people the beef is safe.”