The European Commission is a lobbying and bribing heaven….
A farmer in Fukushima
26 November 2019
Radioactive food grown near the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan will be sold to British shoppers next month under controversial EU plans.
Controls over radioactivity levels in produce from Japan following the 2011 disaster are to be lifted by Brussels as part of the world’s biggest ever trade deal.
It means that British shops will soon be selling goods from the disaster-hit area including baby food, breakfast cereals, fish, crustaceans, meat and green tea. Tests in recent years have shown faint traces of radioactive substances including caesium 134 and 137.
The Japanese government has enforced a strict regime on food from the Fukushima prefecture since the accident, and scientists have deemed it perfectly safe. However senior politicians last night called for the produce to be clearly labelled so that British shoppers can choose whether to eat it.
Conservative candidate Neil Parish, who chaired the environment, food and rural affairs committee during the last Parliament, said he would challenge the government over the issue, if re-elected.
“We don’t need this trade. If the Japanese won’t eat this stuff, why should we?” he told the Daily Telegraph.
“It may well be safe according to the scientists. But I think people have a right to know exactly what they are eating.
“All of these products should be clearly labelled. And I think one of the benefits of Brexit is that we’ll be able to look at this again in due course.”
Under the Brussels deal radiation inspection certificates will no longer be needed, apart from for certain fish products, mushrooms and wild vegetables. In exchange, the EU will be allowed to sell to Japan limitless quantities of reduced tariff French champagne, foie gras, cognac, and wine. Britain has agreed to mirror EU food regulations during the Brexit transition period, set to end in December 2020.
It comes after Remain campaigners insisted that Britain should stay in the EU because of the bloc’s stringent food safety standards. Talks over a possible post-Brexit trade deal with the US have already been overshadowed by fears over chlorinated chicken.
The Fukushima plant was overwhelmed by tsunami waves in March 2011 in the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. In the days afterward, the damaged facility spewed radiation into the air and sea, contaminating plants, soil and fish. A decades-long decommissioning process is now underway.
Since the accident Japanese consumers have turned away from Fukushima’s agricultural produce. Peaches and beef from the area suffer a price disadvantage, while rice is often used for industrial purposes.
The Japanese government insists the food is safe, and has launched a campaign to revive the fortunes of Fukushima farmers. From April 2018 to March this year, officials examined 9.21 million bags of rice, with not a single one exceeding the safe limit. However nations including South Korea, China and the US have maintained bans on produce from the area.
French MEP Michèle Rivasi will be raising a last minute objection to the lifting of controls at the European Parliament next week.
“If controls are lifted we will have no way of gauging how much caesium is in your rice or your lobster. Contaminated goods will swamp the European marketplace from Birmingham to Biarritz,” she said.
“At the moment 100 Becquerels of radioactivity per kilo are permissible, even for cereals eaten by children. For baby foods it is 50 Becquerels and should be zero.”
A ban on the import of Fukushima rice into EU countries was lifted in 2017. A source at the Food Standards Agency said there had been “no instances of non-compliance” since then, adding it would continue to “monitor the safety” of Japanese food imports.
A spokesman from the Department of International Trade added: “Without exception, imports into the UK will meet our stringent food safety standards.”