In a letter dated 7th April 2011 to EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso, the Austrian EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn, the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli and the Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour emphasises that due to the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant special regulations for Japanese food products were urgently needed. Irritation was in particular caused by an Implementing Regulation of the European Commission. It assumed radiation limits for food products coming from Japan, which even exceeded those of Chernobyl as well as those set by the Japanese Government. Following the criticism from many quarters, among others the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour the Commission has now reacted quickly and published a revised Implementing Regulation on 11th April, which drastically reduces the radiation limits for Japanese food products.
Compared to the original Regulation 297/2011 of 25th March 2011, the limits in the new Regulation 351/2011 of 11th April 2011 for example specifies for Caesium 134 and 137 instead of 400 now 200 Becquerel/kg for infant food, in case of milk products 200 instead of 1.000 Becquerel/kg and for other food products 500 instead of 1.250 Becquerel/kg.

Apart from a revision of the Implementing Regulation within the scope of the precautionary principle, the letter to the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour also provides for an import ban for food products from Japan and tight controls. Apart from that, the letter was also forwarded for the information of Austrian MEPs, asking for their support.

Letter of the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour to the European Commission of 7 th April 2011

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 351/2011 of 11 April 2011 amending Regulation (EU) No 297/2011 imposing special conditions governing the import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power station