Scare over EU radioactive food imports

Italian minister puts agencies on red alert after warning of potential Chernobyl contamination

Italian environment minister Willer Bordon announced on Friday that national environment protection agency Anpa had put laboratories in its network of regional environment protection agencies and regional radioactivity monitoring centres on red alert. The announcement followed a European Commission warning of a possible risk that radioactively contaminated foods from Ukraine, especially cereals and vegetables, might be about to enter the EU with false labelling as to country of origin. The EU has had a rapid alert system in place to detect such cases since the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which contaminated large areas, not only in Ukraine but also in other European countries. "I believe, as does the European Commission and Anpa that the risk of radioactively contaminated food imports to Italy is extremely low," Mr Bordon said. "But given the known harmful effects that radioactive substances can have on human health...we are taking all the necessary precautionary measures, also to protect the Italian food industry."Follow Up:
Italian environment ministry, tel +39 06 57 22 55 80; Anpa, tel: +39 06 50 07 20 49.

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