Singapore halts food imports from near Japan plant

SINGAPORE, March 24, 2011 (AFP) - Singapore has suspended imports of milk products and other foodstuffs from four areas near Japan's damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant due to radioactivity fears, regulators said Thursday.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) told AFP it suspended imports of dairy products, fruits, vegetables, seafood and meat from the Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma prefectures with immediate effect late Wednesday.

"The suspension is in line with the precautionary approach adopted by other countries such as US and Australia," the AVA said in a statement on its website.

"Meanwhile, AVA will continue to closely monitor and test imports of food from Japan," it added.

The US, Australia and Hong Kong have also restricted dairy and vegetable imports, and France called on the European Union to do the same, while Japan was testing seawater to measure the impact on marine life.

Japan has already ordered a halt to consumption and shipments of farm products grown near the Fukushima power plant, which was struck by the powerful earthquake and tsunami of March 11, triggering explosions and fires at the nuclear facility.

Japanese health ministry tests found elevated levels of iodine and caesium in food samples including broccoli and spinach from the area.