Plans to extend radioactivity checks on food imported from areas affected by the Chernobyl disaster because of ongoing nuclear contamination have been announced by the European Union.
The European Commission said it planned to lengthen the period for strict checks to be carried out by a further 10 years. Restrictions were first put in place in 1986 just days after the nuclear accident in the then Soviet Union. The present legislation expires at the end of March 2010.
Traces of radioactivity in some foods from countries in the affected by the disaster continued to exceed safety levels, a Commission document said this week.
"A number of products originating from species living and growing in natural and semi-natural areas may present high levels of caesium-137 contamination and the reduction with time of these levels in these products ... relates to the physical half-life of that radionuclide, which is 30 years," it said.