Japan's 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami: Food and Agriculture Implications [May 18, 2011]   [open pdf - 334KB]

"The March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused widespread devastation that affected many of the country's agricultural and fishery areas. The nuclear crisis that followed at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, and the subsequent detection of radioactive contamination of food produced near the disabled facility, further raised fears about the safety of Japan's food production systems and its future food exports. [...] In the United States, the two principal agencies that regulate U.S. food imports - the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - have taken steps to address these concerns. Following Japan's announcement that some foods had been contaminated by radiation, FDA issued 'Import Alert 99-33' for milk, vegetables, and certain fish species (sand lance) produced or manufactured in selected Japanese prefectures. Both FDA and USDA have announced that they are taking extra steps to better track U.S. food imports from Japan, working in conjunction with existing border inspectors at the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Other U.S. agencies are also addressing concerns about whether radiation from Japan might affect food production in the United States or in U.S. territories in the Pacific. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is continuously monitoring the nation's air and is regularly monitoring drinking water, milk, and precipitation for environmental radiation. To date, the results of EPA's sampling and monitoring have shown detected radiation below levels that are a public-health concern."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41766
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