France steps up checks on food imports from Japan

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France has stepped up checks on food imports from Japan amid fears of contamination from the quake-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, the top official for consumer affairs said Tuesday.

"Following the events that affected the Fukushima nuclear power plant, we have put in place a mechanism to boost checks on food coming from Japan," Frederic Lefebvre told AFP.

Samples taken from animal products and fresh produce will be subjected to laboratory analysis "before any release of merchandise" by customs, he said.

Lefebvre stressed however that the volume of Japanese food imports to France is small.

Abnormal radiation levels were detected Saturday in milk and spinach products near the Fukushima plant.

Traces of radioactive iodine and caesium were also found in tap water in the Tokyo area which were declared to be within safety standards for drinking water.

© 2011 AFP

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