– Italy bans Japanese food imports in wake of nuclear radiation (Monsters and Critics):
Rome – Italy has banned the import of food products from Japan due to concern that they may be contaminated by nuclear radiation, Health Ministry officials confirmed Wednesday.
The announcement was first made by Italian Health Minister Ferruccio Fazio during a Tuesday late-night television chat-show.
‘It is not a big problem because the (food) products (imported from Japan) are few and Japanese restaurants (in Italy) use local fish,’ Fazio said.
Fazio said the ban would be applied to food products, mainly fish and vegetables, dating from March 11 – the day when an earthquake and tsunami damaged several nuclear reactors in Japan causing leakage of radiation.
The damage to the Japanese reactors has reignited debate on the safety of nuclear energy in Italy which like the Japan is prone to earthquakes.
Italy has been nuclear-free since a referendum held in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. But Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative government says it plans to begin constructing nuclear power stations by 2013.