Vietnam to tighten control on Japanese food imports' radiation safety

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Vietnam will step up radiation testing on produce imported from Japan as the country's nuclear crisis enters its third week, according to a local official.


Phung Huu Hao, deputy chief of the agriculture ministry's Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Product Management, Minister Cao Duc Phat, has asked food regulators to establish radioactive thresholds for various kinds of food.


Hao said his department will oversee inspections on fresh produce, while the Ministry of Health has been tasked with screening milk and canned goods.


Vietnam has also asked Japan to present safety certificates for each batch of produce exported to Vietnam, according to the official.


"Everything is still under control, so consumers shouldn't be worried or confused," he said.


Vietnam imports a considerable amount of milk and dairy, fish, shrimp, squid, apples and pumpkins from Japan, he added.


In related news, Dang Thanh Luong, of the Vietnam Agency for Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Control, said that it's hardly possible that radioactive iodine leaking from the quake-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant would spread across the ocean to Vietnam.


Whether the iodine discovered in Japan's seawater last Thursday will make it way to Vietnam or not still depends on sea currents, he added. 


Japan and various international agencies will work to limit access to waters that are at risk of being contaminated with radiation and will issue warnings against fishing within those areas, he added.


Since a massive earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima plant's cooling system  on March 11, the skeleton crew of technicians have battled to contain the effects of explosions and fires.


However, concerns over highly radioactive tap water, milk, fruits and vegetables keep soaring in the world's third largest economy.

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