UK fans of Japanese cuisine need not fear radiation levels - because the majority of Japanese food imported into the UK doesn't actually come from Japan, importers and wholesalers are stressing.

Last week, the FSA announced it was working with port health authorities to screen Japanese food imports for radioactive ­material after last month's earthquake and tsunami caused ­reactors to fail at the Fukushima Daiichi ­nuclear plant.

But importers and wholesalers told The Grocer a very small percentage of food coming into the UK is actually from Japan.

Tazaki Foods, the largest Japanese food and drink distributor in Europe, said between 80% and 90% of the products it sold were from outside Japan.

"Quite a lot of products come from China and America, and we get some fish from Norway too," a spokeswoman confirmed.

Stocks of smaller packaged items, such as miso paste, which do come from Japan, were holding up well, she added. "It all came in before everything happened. We're telling customers that there might be delays but not that we won't have anything."

Oriental specialist Wing Yip said its fastest-moving Japanese lines included ­sushi rice from the US and seaweed from China. "The Japanese specialist importers sent round letters saying everything was OK and they still had two to three months' stock," added director Brian Yip. "A lot of that stuff comes from China anyway."

The wholesaler stocks about 100 Japanese lines, including edamame peas and sushi ginger from China, udon noodles from Korea and silken tofu from the US.

The Japan Food Centre, in London, said it held stock one to two months in advance and could not tell yet whether supplies would be disrupted. "One of our most popular rices, Nishiki, comes from the USA," said a store worker.

Several countries have imposed an outright ban on imports of some Japanese foods. The EU is considering strengthening controls on imports of Japanese food to include checks for the presence of plutonium. 

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