Food & Environment in the Mariana Islands Is Safe
Calvo & Fitial speak with federal officials this morning
Press Update: March 21, 2011
Food on Guam is safe to eat, it is highly unlikely radiation fallout will endanger residents, and no radiation has been detected on passengers or cargo entering Guam. The Guam and CNMI governors this morning spoke with federal officials, who assured the governors of the safety of the Mariana Islands and of the federal support needed to allay concerns.
Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo and CNMI Governor Benigno Fitial participated in a conference call with:
– Cecilia Munoz, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House – Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
– Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco
– Department of Homeland Security Deputy Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection David Aguilar
The heads of the island’s military commands, federal officials and officials from the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency also joined the conference call.
Imported Food
“We have no reason at USDA to suggest that the meat, poultry and egg products we regulate are unfit for consumption,” Secretary Vilsack said. “We monitor and we inspect imports. Should we believe any threats arise, we have processes in place to take care of that.”
FDA Commissioner Hamburg said there are no food commodities coming from the area affected by the nuclear incident. “We know where the imported goods are, and we know what we need to do to assess any threats to food safety.”
Governor Calvo brought to officials’ attention fresh produce and tuna coming from Japan. Governor Fitial also mentioned the daily shipments of fish. They both asked what assurances the people have that these commodities are safe for consumption.
“Products already in your community are already safe,” FDA Commissioner Hamburg responded. “The produce and seafood you have should not be a concern.”
Weather Patterns, Likelihood of Harmful Radiation Fallout in the Marianas
NOAA is working with Japan to monitor weather patterns. “This gives us a better understanding of where the winds can take radiation,” NOAA Administrator Lubchenco said. Governor Calvo asked whether the erratic weather patterns threatened Guam and the CNMI. Lubchenco assured the Governor that there is no threat to residents’ health.
Radiation Detection
Governors Calvo and Fitial both asked the federal government to provide radiation isotope identification devices to Guam and the Northern Marianas, to augment the portable radiation devices officers currently are using at the airport and on sea vessels.
“We know the likelihood of harmful levels of radiation reaching our shores is very low. We just want the people to be assured the local and federal governments are addressing all possibilities, no matter how unlikely,” Governor Calvo said.
CBP Deputy Commissioner Aguilar said 99.4 percent of all containers entering the United States are scanned. DHS also is monitoring passengers and air cargo. “No passengers on planes, or otherwise, activated any detection devices at the airports,” he said.

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