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Japanese foodstuffs subject to tighter controls

Checks at the border on imports of Japanese foodstuffs are being strengthened, the Federal Health Office has announced.

The move, which affects all Japanese food imports and boosts current checks, has been made to protect public health, it said on Thursday.

Exempted are products that were harvested or prepared before the nuclear accident at the Fukushima nuclear reactor, which was damaged following March’s earthquake and tsunami, as well as food that left Japan before the new regulations came into force.

All deliveries are now required to include a declaration that the products are pre-nuclear accident or do not come from the 12 affected prefectures around the reactor, a health office statement said.

Products from the affected area must show that they are under the recommended radiation levels. The health office will be conducting spot checks.

According to German-language Swiss radio, SFr17 million ($18.5 million) worth of Japanese foodstuffs were imported into Switzerland in 2010. They were mainly specialty foods, such as seaweed, fish oil, noodles and certain drinks. 

The new regulations are in line with those of the European Union.

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR