Food safety concerns remain grim in Japan

3/27/2011 17:00:25 PM

Food safety in Japan’s quake hit area’s remain grim, two weeks after a devastated earth quake struck led to radiation leaks from a crippled reactor at Fukushima.

However, World Health Organization said it had no evidence of contaminated food spreading internationally, but Japanese officials found higher than usual levels of iodine in samples of spinach and milk.

Many countries continued to check food imports from Japan for radioactivity. The main markets for Japanese food products are Hong Kong, the United States and China.

Japan's government has halted shipment of raw milk from Fukushima prefecture, and told a total of four prefectures near the stricken plant to hold shipments of spinach.

Leafy green vegetables, and milk, egg and meat products are the biggest concern for possible contamination, the WHO said.

Eating food containing radioactive materials could increase the risks of certain cancers in the future, experts said. If radioactive iodine is ingested, it can accumulate in and cause damage to the thyroid.

He said while he saw no risk in people outside Japan eating Japanese food, those in Japan should avoid eating fresh food produced in and around the nuclear plants.

Japan is a net importer of food, but it has substantial exports of fruits, vegetables, dairy products and seafood, of which the country exports around 200,000 tons per annum, according to the WHO.

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