Vietnam will continue to import farm products from Japan but will strengthen inspection on radiation safety, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announced.

At a meeting last March 25, Minister Cao Duc Phat requested agencies to publish regulations on the permitted level of radioactivity for each specific type of food products.

The ministry will be responsible for inspecting raw products from Japan at the border gates while the Ministry of Health will inspect milk and canned products.

Phung Huu Hao, of the ministry's Quality Control of Agricultural, Forest and Aquatic Produce Department, said to ensure safety, whenever farm products cross border gates, random samples will be tested at one of four standard laboratories to analyse the level of radioactive pollution.

The safety requirements applied in Vietnam will be in line with internationally recognised standards relating to foods, food production and food safety.

"If two or three batches have radiation levels exceeding the safety threshold, 100 percent of this type of product will be tested," he said.

Nguyen Cong Khan, head of the health ministry's Vietnam Food Administration, said that since the cost of radiation testing is relatively high, the ministry has proposed that the Ministry of Finance provide additional funding for unscheduled inspection activities.

Vietnam has already asked Japan to provide radiation safety certificates for each batch of farm products imported into Vietnam.

The main farm products imported from Japan are fish, shrimp, squid, milk, apple and pumpkin but the import turnover was reported to be insignificant.

The Ministry of Science and Technology reported that the radioactive waste leaked from Fukushima 1, a nuclear power plant in Japan, has been found to have moved to the Pacific region. The radioactive clouds are heading for Indonesia and Malaysia, while Vietnam remains unaffected.

Observation station of the Institute for Nuclear Science and Technique under the Vietnam Atomic Energy Commission has discovered radioactive isotope I-131 in the air, but the minor content will not affect people's health, scientists said on March 28.

Scientist Satoru Toshimitsu, chief representative of Japan Atomic Industrial Forum's Office in Vietnam on March 28 said the situation will be worse only in case there will be continuous earthquakes and tsunamies occuring at the location of the plant. Otherwise, with helps from IAEA and other countries, Japan could control and minimise the consequences of the nuclear plant explosion, he said./.