Japanese food safe, says minister

Austrian Interior Minister Maria Fekter has stressed all foodstuff imported from Japan is safe.The People’s Party (ÖVP) deputy chief said today (Mon) Austrians could be assured that none of the tuna, noodles and various other food shipped to Austria from the Asian country were found to be contaminated by radiation. Fekter told the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper that all food imported from Japan “can be consumed without any hesitation”.Her appeal comes shortly after the Japanese government announced that an abnormal amount of radioactivity was discovered in milk from a dairy farm about 50 kilometres from the Fukushima nuclear plant which detonated after an earthquake earlier this month. Officials also appealed to people in Japan not to eat spinach grown in the area due to examination results.Fekter stressed that all food coming to Austria from Japan was undergoing “gapless checks”. The minister added Austrians must not be worried about possible contamination of other products manufactured in Japan such as cars and electronic appliances either. The interior minister also announced that none of the 336 radiation measuring points across Austria showed any increases.The federal interior minister – who rules out that the quake in Japan could mean more refugees coming to Austria – told the Salzburger Nachrichten, Japanese children from the affected regions may be invited to come to Austria for free holidays. Similar initiatives were launched after the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union in 1986.Meanwhile, Austrian Social Democratic (SPÖ) Chancellor Werner Faymann suggested Social Democrats across Europe should unite against nuclear power. The SPÖ boss said Social Democrats across the continent could become a “political stronghold” against the technology. Faymann explained he will approach German Social Democrats (SPD) chairman Sigmar Gabriel and Martin Schulz, leader of the Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament (EP) for talks on the issue.Austria’s political elite has shown unusual consensus considering nuclear power technology over the past decades. Representatives of all leading parties have expressed concerns considering the safety of nuclear power plants in Temelin, Czech Republic, Mochovce in Slovakia and Krsko in Slovenia.Dozens of pressure groups have been established in Upper Austria, Vienna and other provinces in recent years against nuclear power generation at the aforementioned facilities which are situated just a few kilometres from the countries’ borders with Austria.