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Exponent E-Alert: Supply Chain Health & Safety Issues


March 30, 2011

Issues arising from the Japanese disaster of March 11th are having significant impacts on the global supply chain. Japan supplies key parts used in industries ranging from car manufacturing to consumer electronics and data processing, as well as food, toys, and other consumer products. The subsequent nuclear crisis has also caused great concern around the world regarding potential radiation exposure to which these imports may have been subject. This has led to testing of many products (especially food items) in the U.S. supply chain.

On March 22nd, FDA issued Import Alert 99-33, regarding the importation of all milk and milk products, and fresh vegetables and fruits, produced or manufactured from the four Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, and Gunma Other food products from this area, including seafood, though not subject to the Import Alert, are being diverted for testing by FDA before they enter the food supply. FDA will also be monitoring and testing food products, including seafood, from other areas of Japan as appropriate.

EU member states agreed to impose restrictions on food and feedstuff from Japan harvested or processed before March 11th. The regulation stipulates that each consignment of food or feed from Japan has to be accompanied by a declaration—to be provided by the Japanese authorities—attesting that the product does not contain levels of radionuclides that exceed the EU's maximum permitted levels. The range of measures applies to all feed and food originating in or consigned from 12 localities in Japan. These products will have to be tested before leaving Japan and will be subject to random testing in the EU. Feed and food products from the remaining 35 localities will have to be accompanied by a declaration stating the locality of origin and will be randomly tested on arrival in the EU.

Read more about questions that may influence your decision making regarding imports from affected areas, as well as how Exponent can help.