12/07/2011, 00.00
JAPAN
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Fukushima: 400,000 cans of radioactive powdered milk recalled

Food and candy maker Meiji Co issues recall, now deluged with queries from buyers. Japanese soldiers start to clean up contaminated area as a new leak of radioactive water occurs.
Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Meiji Co, one of Japan’s main food and candy makers, has recalled 400,000 cans of powdered milk for infants after traces of radiation were detected from Japan's hobbled Fukushima nuclear plant, hit on 11 March by an earthquake and tsunami. The company said it did not know how many of the cans had reached consumers, but acknowledged that it was being deluged with queries from worried buyers. The problem milk was manufactured in March and April, and was shipped starting in July with an October 2012 expiration date, it said.

The levels of radioactive caesium detected Tuesday were well below government-set safety limits, the company said. However, in order to be on the safe side, it decided to exchange “it so that people can feel their infants are safe," a company statement said.

"There is no problem because the levels are within the government limit," Kazuhiko Tsurumi, a Health Ministry official in charge of food safety, said of the radiation in Meiji milk.

Nevertheless, problems associated with Fukushima seem never-ending. On the day the government sent 900 soldiers to the area around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to start decontamination, another leak of radioactive water occurred in one of the reactors.

The Tokyo Electricity Power Company (TEPCO) said that some 45 tonnes of highly radioactive water leaked Sunday from desalination equipment used to decontaminate the radioactive water in the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. Only sandbags placed around the structure stopped the water from reaching the sea.

In the meantime, the work to shut down the damaged and partially melted reactors continues. An exclusion zone has been imposed in a 20-kilometre range.

Meanwhile, Russian police in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok have confiscated a shipping container from Japan holding dozens of radioactive car tires, with levels of gamma and beta rays higher than allowed.

"There's a good chance the radioactive tires are a result of the Fukushima accident," safety inspector Ivan Skogorev said.

This is not the first time that authorities in Vladivostok stopped a radioactive shipment from Japan.

In April and June, Vladivostok custom officials stopped shipments of radioactive contaminated automobiles from Japan, just weeks and months after the 11 March incident in Fukushima.
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