Chernobyl, European Commission eases restrictions on incoming food products

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Levels of radioactivity in food products originating from areas adjacent to Chernobyl are still unacceptable after the 1986 tragedy. Nonetheless, the European Commission is easing restrictions and controls on food products.
All the more reason to demand theindication of origin of meats in restaurants.

Chernobyl, food still radioactive

The European Commission, in Implementing Regulation 2020/1158, acknowledges that ‘some products originating from third countries affected by the Chernobyl accident still have radioactive caesium contamination above the maximum permissible levels mentioned above.’ (1)

‘Studies conducted in recent years show that cesium-137 contamination following the Chernobyl accident remains high for a number of products derived from species living and growing in forests and wooded areas.

This is due to the persistence in that ecosystem of significant levels of radioactive caesium and its physical half-life of 30 years’ (EU Reg. 2020/1158, Recital 5).

Cesium issues

The radionuclide caesium-137 is expected to halve in 30 years, the European Commission reports. Which, moreover, recognizes how, 34 years later, its levels are still ‘significant‘. And it therefore continues to require its analysis, albeit on a small number of food products as will be seen.

Cesium-134 on the other hand, on paper, would have a physical half-life of about two years. The European executive therefore considers that it has ‘completely lapsed since the Chernobyl accident.’ And he considers his analysis ‘an additional burden’ that can be completely dispensed with (2). Without even prescribing basic monitoring on incoming goods from the areas closest to the decommissioned nuclear plant.

Vigilance sieve

Rapid Alert System on Food and Feed(RASFF) records are used by the European Commission as the basis for radioactivity risk analysis on food arriving from Ukraine, Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Neglecting other sources of information and risk analysis, which should instead be conducted on food and feed made from agricultural raw materials sourced closer to the sites of the 1986 disaster.

Reg. EU 2020/1158 therefore reports that ‘Over the past 10 years, the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) has been notified of cases of non-compliance with maximum levels in batches of mushrooms imported from various third countries.’ Radioactivity above permissible limits in the EU has also been reported ‘In batches of cranberries, blueberries, and other fruits and products derived from the genus Vaccinium‘ (e.g., blackberries, currants), ‘But no cases of noncompliance in game meat‘. (Cons. 7).

Spot checks on mushrooms and cranberries only

Brussels therefore considers ‘sufficient to require documentary checks on all consignments of mushrooms, except cultivated mushrooms, and cranberries, blueberries, and other wild fruits and by-products of the genus Vaccinium accompanied by an official certificate, supplemented by identity and physical checks of such consignments, including a laboratory analysis to detect the presence of radioactive cesium, at a frequency of 20 percent‘ (EU reg. 2020/1158, Cons. 13).

Controls are in each case limited to the analysis of cesium-137, whose maximum allowable cumulative levels of radioactive contamination are expressed as:

– 370 Bq/kg for milk, dairy products, foods for infants and young children. Which are subject to reg. EU 609/13, Article 2.2, letters ‘a’ and ‘b’, without provision for mandatory origin labeling of products and their raw materials, (3)

– 600 Bq/kg for all other products arriving from the 13 countries listed in Annex I. (reg. EU 2020/1158, Article 3, Conditions for entry into the Union).

The checkpoints frontier are thus required to perform only on wild mushrooms, truffles and fruits of the species Vaccinium (also transformed, see Annex II) the ‘Identity and physical checks of such batches, including a laboratory analysis to detect the presence of cesium-137, at a frequency of 20 percent.’ (reg. EU 2020/1158, Article 5, Official controls performed upon entry into the Union).

Food safety, the risks overlooked by Brussels

The most obvious food safety risks overlooked by Brussels pertain to:

– Food and feed made from agricultural raw materials, including livestock and game, sourced in and around Ukraine,

– foodstuffs and feed materials from countries in the former Yugoslavia where the NATO alliance made extensive use of munitions and radioactive ordnance.

The Brussels puppets once again prioritize geopolitical interest-in this case, to prop up the failing economy of the government installed by the Maidan coup-over food security and the public safety of its citizens. (4)

How to defend ourselves?

The indication of the origin of products on the shelf and the origin of their raw materials – a proposal to the European Citizens’ Initiative #EatORIGINal! Unmask your food! – Is all the more urgent. The European Commission was supposed to comment on this by 2.1.20, and it is in a culpable delay that precedes the Covid-19 emergency.

ConsumAtors in the Old Continent have a right to know where the food offered to them comes from. Including equine meat, rabbits, hares and game, frogs and snails that have been shamefully excluded from the scope of reg. EU 1337/13. Ministers Teresa Bellanova and Stefano Patuanelli should then promote the urgent adoption of a decree law requiring the origin of all meat and fish products served in restaurants and public establishments, canteens and catering, according to the scheme already proposed in 2017 and to date not considered. (5)

If not now, when?

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1158 of August 5, 2020 on import conditions for food and feed originating in third countries following the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant
(2) Reg. EU 2020/1158, Recital 6
(3) The global food safety crisis of baby products, which arose from a French Lactalis plant in 2018, was not enough to strengthen the rules of information on the origin of these products. Although they are intended for a particularly vulnerable group of consumers, all the more so as the immune system develops in the early years of life. See previous article https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/lactalis-salmonella-ai-neonati
(4) Not surprising in this regard is the full support for the Ukrainian government of George Soros’ Open Society Foundation (see https://www.opensocie tyfoundations.org/explainers/understanding-ukraines-euromaidan-protests). Mr. Soros, by the way, has never hidden either his interest in land investments for agricultural use in Ukraine or his ‘need’ to obtain their support manu militari (see https://www.mintpressne ws.com/george-soros-looks-to-co-own-ukraine/203866/). Combination, theAdvisory Committee of the Open Society Foundation also includes Monique Goyens, director general of BEUC, the confederation of European consumer federations, funded primarily by the European Commission (see https://www.opensocie tyfoundations.org/who-we-are/boards/european-advisory-board/member/monique-goyens). The conflict of interest is not only apparent
(5) Dario Dongo. Origin of beef in restaurants, the draft decree law of the L’Italia Zootechnica Consortium. Detailed analysis. FARE(Food and Agriculture Requirements). 27.5.17