FDA has procedures and laboratory techniques for measuring radionuclide levels in food, and can also utilize the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN). FERN integrates the nation’s food-testing laboratories at the local, state, and federal levels into a network that is able to respond to emergencies involving biological, chemical, or radiological contamination of food. FDA is working with Customs and Border Protection (CPB) to share resources and techniques for measuring contamination. FDA has the ability to measure contamination in products and issued guidance in 1998 regarding safe levels.
For those food and feed imports from the areas in proximity to the reactor but not covered by the import alert, FDA will:
- Conduct a field examination, including time/temperature changes, water damage.
- Collect a sample for radionuclide analysis at FDA laboratories.
- For food and feed imports from Japan that originate outside the area of concern, FDA will:
Collect a sample for any radiation pager reading significantly above background.
As additional surveillance and as resources allow, collect other samples for radionuclide analysis as resources permit, for readings of 0 on the radionuclide pager.