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China to check its food, water for radiation


March 29, 2011 - Beijing

China's Ministry of Health has ordered local administrators in 14 areas, including Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and some coastal provinces to test their drinking water and food for radiation.

The move comes after the health ministry confirmed that the level of radiation from iodine-131, a radioactive isotope, was higher than usual in China's Heilongjiang Province.

However, the ministry said the radiation level was too low to pose any danger.

"Based on the current situation, people don't need to worry about the contamination of the air or of food and water here," said Wang Zhongwen, a researcher at the China Institute of Atomic Energy's radiation safety department.

Wang said that radiation-testing order by the ministry is part of routine inspections of food and water undertaken in many parts of the country.

He also pointed that many countries routinely test the radiation levels of their domestic food and water supplies. But, China only has the means to conduct such tests in a few regions, not across the entire country.

"The Japan nuclear incident might help shorten the time it will take to establish similar testing in other places in the country," The China Daily quoted Wang, as saying.

Meanwhile, to prevent contamination, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has prohibited the importation of some Japanese foods that includes dairy products, seafood and vegetables.

ANI

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