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Fish imported from Japan being checked for radiation

March 31, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Food and Drug Administration is requiring food coming into the U.S. from northern Japan to be checked for radiation.

The FDA said every piece of fish that has come in from Japan has tested negative, it is 100 percent clean and safe. Customesr at fish eateries Thursday said they feel confident that the U.S. government is doing all they can to make sure imports from Japan are safe to eat.

Twice a week the International Marine Products Company in downtown Los Angeles gets a delivery of fish from Japan. Before it arrives, the FDA has already tested it for radiation.

Just over a week ago, the FDA issued an import alert for dairy products, fruits and vegetables tagged for export from northern Japan to the U.S. That includes seafood.

Ray Watanabe, who runs the wholesale fish market, said the fish he imports is from southern Japan. He said that region isn't affected by the nuclear problems from the north.

Watanabe said before he takes delivery of Japanese fish, he makes sure it's tested twice for radiation.

"We actually sent, voluntarily, farm raised fish to Arizona nuclear testing companies," said Watanabe. "They have all come back negative. Of course we have got to trust the American government, the FDA and the customs officials. They wouldn't allow anything in here that wasn't edible."

Watanabe said that his vendors, mostly high-end restaurants in Southern California, don't have concerns about the quality of his fish.

Outside a downtown L.A. fish restaurant, customers tell us they had no worries about consuming fish from Japan.

"I don't see no problem with it," said Carlos Sanchez. "I am hearing on the news that it is safe to eat. I listen to the news."

"I'm sure it's perfectly safe," said Teresa Sanchez. "No one has gotten sick yet or anything like that. So I do think it is safe."

Watanabe said the vendors he does business with in Japan have it tested for radiation before it leaves the country. His contacts there said that they would not let any contaminated fish leave Japan.

"If there is that chance that it will be affected, it wouldn't make it past the airport," said Watanabe. "Let alone be allowed to come into the United States."

The FDA said that all food that has been imported from Japan since the disaster has been 100 percent safe to eat.


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