Radiation Fears Bring FDA Assurances of Food Safety
COLUMBIA - A local nutrition expert said Monday the FDA precautions to stop the possible import of radioactive foods from Japan mean the mid-Missouri public is at a very low risk of contamination. Japan's earthquake and tsunami devastation caused a meltdown at Japan's nuclear power plants, leading to a radiation scare that has reached the U.S. Some Americans have raised concerns about contaminated food imports from Japan.
MU nutrition specialist Ellen Schuster said the FDA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are taking precautions to protect Americans from radioactive contamination in food. "In general, there's a fear about radiation, there's a fear about things we can't control and I think we should approach this by being careful, not fearful and I think that's what the agencies are trying to do," said Schuster.
Normally, about four percent of overall U.S. imports come from Japan. But the FDA has stopped all Japanese imports of dairy products, and fresh fruits and vegetables. It is also screening other imports of seafood, snack foods, processed fruits and vegetables for radiation contamination. "They have a list of manufacturers from the areas around the damaged nuclear plant, so they know when things come into the country, they know where they are coming from and they know to monitor and sample for radiation," said Schuster.
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