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Friday, March 25

Food from Japan: A small risk is still a risk

New Zealand should follow Australia and halt imports of food from Japan, Green Party food spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

Radiation leaks at the Fukushima nuclear power plant following Japan's March 11 earthquake have contaminated some Japanese food products. Australia has stopped food from the areas immediately around the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

"New Zealand should be taking a precautionary approach to the food imported from affected provinces in Japan," said Ms Kedgley.

"Perhaps our food safety experts could explain why we are not halting Japanese foodstuffs while Australia is?

"Australia has halted imports of the very same products New Zealand seems happy to allow in," said Ms Kedgley.

"New Zealand's imports from Japan are small and consist mostly of processed food and beverages, such as soy sauce.

"The argument from our Food Safety authorities appears to be the risks are negligible because we don't import many foodstuffs from Japan.

"This is the wrong approach. Despite importing only a small amount of food from Japan we should be taking the same precautions other countries are.

"In fact due to the limited nature of imports it should be easier for New Zealand to adopt a precautionary approach," said Ms Kedgley.