Vietnam asked to screen seafood shipments amid radiation concerns

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France and Italy have required seafood imported from Vietnam to be checked for radiation before it leaves the country, an industry group said Friday.

To Tue Lang, chairwoman of the Seafood Exporters Association in the central province of Binh Thuan, said the requirement came as concerns rose over the safety of seafood following the nuclear disaster in Japan.

She said other European countries are likely to follow suit to ask for screening of seafood imported from Vietnam. The European Union is one of the leading consumers of Vietnamese seafood, together with Japan and the US.

Lang said Vietnam has limited testing facilities to detect radiation in seafood. As a result, the new rule may lead to difficulties for exporters, she said.

Meanwhile, an AFP report said that the 27-nation EU tightened on Friday the acceptable level of radiation in food imports from Japan. The block reduced the maximum acceptable levels of three radioactive elements iodine-131, caesium-134 and caesium-137 in food and feed from Japan after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

All products from 12 prefectures in Japan must be tested before leaving the country and are subject to more testing in the EU, the  European Commission said.

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