USDA affirms Japanese food imports are safe
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tried to assure American consumers that local foods and commodities entering the country from Japan are safe to eat.
“I want to reassure the American public that at this time we have no reason to suggest that any of our meat, poultry, dairy or processed egg products are unsafe for consumption due to the recent events in Japan,' he said in a statement on Friday.
Vilsack noted U.S. food imports from Japan are quite small and those shipments must meet U.S. safety standards.
'We monitor and inspect imports to insure compliance with those standards,' he said. 'Should any risk with imports arise, we have procedures and processes in place to identify problems and deal with them.'
According to media reports, the Japanese government continues to test food and water supplies near the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant for signs of radiation contamination. On Saturday, the government warned some produce and milk produced on farms near the facility exceeded safety levels.
On Monday, the World Health Organization warned the contamination's impact on Japan's food supply may be far worse.
“It’s a lot more serious than anybody thought in the early days when we thought that this kind of problem can be limited to 20 to 30 kilometers,' WHO Spokesman Peter Coridingly told Reuters. 'It’s safe to suppose that some contaminated produce got out of the contamination zone.”