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The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
In-depth critical analysis of the forces shaping the Asia-Pacific...and the world.

Food Safety in Japan: One Year after the Nuclear Disaster

Martin J. Frid

The issue of food safety in the wake of 3.11 remains the subject of deep concern in Japan and abroad. In this article consumere policy specialist Martin J. Frid examines the question of risk in light of international standards on radiation. The Asia-Pacific Journal welcomes further discussion of radiation risk in food and all other realms. APJ

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, what can be said about Japan’s food safety? Clearly, the issue continues to worry may people. Having worked in the field of consumer policy for over 15 years, I understand that contamination by radioactive substances is terrifying because it cannot be tasted, smelled or seen. Immediately after an accident like Chernobyl or Fukushima, many people are exposed to radioactivity through the air or by touching items that have been contaminated.


Minami Sanriku pharmacy after 3.11 (all photos by Martin Frid)

Food is only one of several sources of internal exposure. But we have to eat, and drink to survive, thus food safety becomes a huge concern. As I noted in a previous article on food safety1, the first test results after March 11, 2011 showed very high levels of radioactive substances on crops that were growing outdoors on fields, including spinach and bamboo shoots. Other foods were also tested, and it became clear that crops were seriously contaminated in certain areas around the nuclear reactors that had been damaged.

Such foods were not put on sale, and farmers and local authorities struggled to figure out what to do next. The government set a provisional regulation limit of 500 Bq/kg and mandated that food that had levels below the limits could be sold. While there was criticism2 that the limits were too high, that is, that they allowed too much contamination, the key was that they were provisional. New, much stricter limits of 100 Bq/kg were announced in December, and will be implemented from April 1, 20123.

What is interesting to a food safety expert is the actual data showing the contamination levels consumers face. Anything else is speculation, and of course there is a lot of that after such a huge disaster. The data from actual measurements done in Japan with state-of-the-art detectors over the past 12 months present a very interesting picture.

Starting with Fukushima prefecture, 19,929 food items had been measured as of March 9, 2012. Out of these, only 683 were found to be contaminated at levels exceeding the provisional limits (500 Bq/kg). That includes 302 types of vegetables (including spinach and bamboo shoots), 206 fishery products, 18 milk products (raw milk) 151 meat products (including 84 cases of boar meat and 59 cases of beef). Only 3.4% of all the food samples that have been produced and carefully tested in Fukushima during the year since the nuclear disaster show levels above the safety standard.

For the entire country, over 120,000 food products have been tested, and the total number of cases that exceeded the limit was 1,162 or just below 1%. Thus, looking at these numbers we realize that the food contamination situation could have been a lot worse!

Fig. 1 list all prefectures in which contaminated food has been found:

Prefecture Number of food samples tested Number of foods at high levels
Fukushima

19,929

683
Ibaraki 11,949 85
Tochigi 10,376 75
Gunma 10,366 26
Saltama 3,345 127
Chiba 3,033 32
Tokyo 475 7
Kanagawa 942 21
Nagano 6,083 1
Iwate 7,930 30
Miyagi 12,551 61
Akita 1,656 2
Yamagata 11,477 2
Shizuoka 1,376 10
     
Total 114,488 1,162

Fig. 1: List of prefectures where food samples contaminated at levels above 500 Bq/kg have been found between March 19, 2011 and March 6, 2012. Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare4.

Out of 43 prefectures in Japan, contaminated food samples above the 500 Bq/kg limit have been found in the above 14 prefectures. For the rest of the country, or 29 prefectures, the situation is even better.

It would be interesting to analyze the levels of all 120,000 food samples and calculate the number of contaminated samples using the new more demanding 100 Bq/kg standard. But that is beyond the scope of this article.

It is worth noting that most of these food samples fall into four categories, which helps us understand the situation in Japan. First, there are the vegetables that were growing outdoors, such as spinach, bamboo shoots and mushrooms, which were contaminated by airborne particles emitted directly after the hydrogen explosions in March 2011. The second category is the beef and meat products, as well as milk, which were contaminated due to cattle being fed hay and straw that had been contaminated at that early stage. The third category is the tea, for which it is thought that the same airborne particles led to the contamination (even though it may seem strange that they would reach all the way to Shizuoka prefecture). Finally, the fourth category is fish caught either in rivers and lakes in Fukushima prefecture, where contamination is high, or in the Pacific Ocean along the Tohoku coast, especially near Fukushima prefecture.


Pacific coast of Japan

This suggests that unless there are new hydrogen explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, it is not likely that food grown from now on will be highly contaminated, or at least the number of such cases will be very limited. While that is reassuring, it is important that radiation measurements not be discontinued. This is especially the case in the prefectures where there has been contamination of the same types of food samples.

With the new, more stringent safety standard in place from April 1, 2012, the likelihood is that media will draw attention to the food safety issue. However, even if the new standard limit of 100 Bq/kg had been used since March 11, 2011 rather than the provisional 500 Bq/kg limit, it would not have made a large difference except in the initial period. Most important, one year after the disaster, the number of samples that are found to be highly contaminated has decreased, in most cases dramatically.

Fig. 2 shows the ratio of levels above 500 Bq/kg in some food samples in Fukushima prefecture during 2011:

  March-June July-September October-November
Vegetables 10.5% 0% 3%
Fruits 5.9% 0.8% 1.2%
Milk 0% 0% 0%
Beef 2.1% 4.8% 0.1%

Fig. 2: Ratio of excesses over the standard limit for radioactive cesium in monitoring tests. Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.5

Fig. 3 shows the ratio of levels above 100 Bq/kg in the same food samples in Fukushima prefecture during 2011:

  March-June July-September October-November
Vegetables 20.4% 0.4% 1.2%
Fruits 37.8% 6.2% 10.0%
Milk 1.4% 0% 0%
Beef 27.7% 10.5% 1.1%

Fig. 3: Ratio of excesses over the standard limit for radioactive cesium in monitoring tests. Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare5.

Fig. 3 applies the new more rigorous safety standard that takes effect in April 2012. The data show the sharp drop in contamination after the initial three month period for vegetables, fruit, milk and beef.

Safety standards or levels differ from country to country. Moreover, there are international guidelines set by the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission, to facilitate and regulate trade. The safety standards vary for a number of reasons, including estimates of intake and food habits. Special consideration is supposed to be taken for infants and children which is relevant in the areas close to the damaged nuclear reactors.
Fig. 4 shows Japan’s levels compared to levels in the US, EU, and Codex:

  Drinking Water Milk General foodstuffs Food items for babies
Japan (New limits from April 1, 2012) 10 50 100 (Including dairy products) 50
Japan (Provisional limits from March, 2011) 200 200 (Including dairy products) 500 200
United States 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,200
European Union
1,000 1,000 1,250 400
Codex 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000

Fig. 4: Japanese and overseas limits on radioactive cesium in food. Unit: Bq/kg6.

The data show that from the start in the immediate aftermath of 3.11, Japan applied more rigorous standards than either the US, European Union or Codex, and these standards are to be made even more rigorous in April 2012.

If the more lenient standard levels used abroad were applied to the foods that have been sampled so far in Japan, a lot more contaminated products might have reached consumers. The most important finding, however, is that so few foods from Fukushima or other parts of Japan are contaminated by any of these standards. This is confirmed by independent testing, for example by Eden Foods, a company based in Michigan, US. They test all products they import from Japan, such as rice products, shiitake, kombu and wasabi. As of November 17, 2011, they had not detected any radioactive materials in foods imported from Japan7.

It is important that farmers and food producers with government support find ways to ensure that food products with high levels of radiation do not reach consumers. Rice, for example, cannot be grown in certain areas near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant8.

Messages of support from volunteers
Messages of support from volunteers

An initial assessment of the damages due to the massive tsunami on the farm and fishery sector reveals tremendous losses, with over 25,000 fishing boats destroyed along the coast. Agricultural land and facilities for food production were destroyed in 16 prefectures and the estimated cost (which will most likely increase) was 2,341 billion yen9.

A large issue that remains to be solved is the compensation that must be paid to all those farmers and others who are unable to market their food products. David McNeill notes10:

About 285 Farmers, hundreds of fishermen and small-mid-sized business people have also been compensated for loss of earnings. After bitter public criticism of its application procedure the utility says it has tripled the number of staff to explain how to apply, bringing a total of 7,000 people working in call centers, 14 local offices and company back offices. It says it has paid out a total of 291.7 billion yen so far and estimates the total cost over two years at 1 trillion, 700 billion yen.

For all the losses imposed by the 3.11 disaster, an extraordinary fact is that Japan enjoys high levels of food safety, and foods from Japan can continue to be appreciated at home and abroad, after continued careful testing.

Martin J. Frid, born in Sweden, works for Consumers Union of Japan. He is the author of the food guide book Nippon no Shoku no Anzen 555 (Kodansha) published in 2009. He has participated in food safety meetings on the local, national, and international levels, including as an expert at FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission meetings. He currently resides in Saitama, Japan.

Recommended citation: Martin J. Frid, 'Food Safety in Japan: One Year After the Nuclear Disaster,' The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 10, Issue 12, No 1, March 19, 2012.

Notes:

1 Martin J. Frid, Food Safety: Addressing Radiation in Japan’s Northeast after 3.11, The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 31 No 3, August 1, 2011. here

2 Food Safety Citizens Watch & Consumers Union of Japan, Food Contaminated by Radioactive Substances, March 24, 2011. here

3 Tsuyoshi Nakamura and Tomoko Koizumi / Yomiuri Shimbun, New radiation limits alarm local entities, December 25, 2011. here

4 MHLW, Sum up of radionuclide test results carried out since 19 March 2011 (Up-to-date Report as of 19:00, 6 March 2012). here

5 MHLW, New Standard limits for Radionuclides in Foods, March 7, 2012. here

6 Tsuyoshi Nakamura and Tomoko Koizumi / Yomiuri Shimbun, New radiation limits alarm local entities, December 25, 2011. here

7 Eden Foods, Eden Traditional Japanese Foods Nuclear Radiation Food Safety and Related Concerns, Update November 21, 2011. here

8 Martin Fackler, “Japanese Struggle to Protect Their Food Supply,” New York Times January 21, 2012. It is worth noting that even with the new rigorous 100 Bq/kg limits, fewer than 10% of the farms in the most severely affected region in Fukushima would be unable to ship their rice. here

9 MAFF, The Damages caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Actions taken by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, November 25, 2011. here

10 David McNeill, The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis and the Fight for Compensation, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 10, issue 10, No 6, March 5, 2012. here

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Comments
Jan Hemmer
03/13/2012
Your article is an ERROR 70 - 90 % of RADIATION is accumulated with the consumption of FOOD! http://tekknorg.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/51.jpg "only 683 were found to be contaminated at levels exceeding the provisional limits (500 Bq/kg)" I don't feel reassured. Because: “For Cesium 134 – 137. “Dosimeters distributed to children should be replaced by whole body spectrometers periodically transported in schools for controls. This gives a measure of the Cs-137 load. If the values are above 20 Bq/kg bodyweight, pectin courses may be necessary, and the contaminated food must be replaced by absolutely clean food and clean drinks.” Source: http://fukushima.over-blog.fr/article-the-health-impact-of-fukushima-warnings-and-recommendations-by-michel-fernex-98279018.html “The dangerous thing about the water contamination is that the food chains are much longer there than on land. Among the many steps in the water to accumulate more and more radioactive substances in the organisms. This means that contamination in fish at the end of the food chain is much higher than the water in which they swim” translated from: http://www.n-tv.de/politik/Fukushima-ist-nicht-ueberstanden-article5731966.html Plankton takes in the 200,000 time of a radioactive substance: http://life-upgrade.com/DATA/FUKUSHIMA-SEA-BECQUEREL.jpg nonsense: "This suggests that unless there are new hydrogen explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, it is not likely that food grown from now on will be highly contaminated, or at least the number of such cases will be very limited." 40,000 Tillion Becquerel of Cesium Radionuclide group "only" by Reactor 1 in Fukushima. 70% into sea (longer food chains) and 30& into soil: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201202290025 Fukushima is immortal: http://tekknorg.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/immortal-fukushima/ German “foodwatch”: Lower japanese 500 Bequerel radiation limit for Food to 16 Bequerel! http://tekknorg.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/german-foodwatch-lower-japanese-500-bequerel-radiation-limit-for-food-to-16-bequerel/ You don't need to ask an expert, watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3AIzaOO_pE Martin J Frid slaps Fukushima victims in the face writing: ""For all the losses imposed by the 3.11 disaster, an extraordinary fact is that Japan enjoys high levels of food safety, and foods from Japan can continue to be appreciated at home and abroad, after continued careful testing." Good lord!
Yayoi Kooizumi
03/13/2012
https://www.facebook.com/japanfocus/posts/298832123517916?notif_t=share_wall_create <- shows comments to this article from apj facebook page
Izumi Tanaka
03/13/2012
I am not a scholar and I cannot write a well-formatted counter argument to Mr.Frid's view. But I do not agree that it is safe to eat here in Japan. There's no careful testing done by the government as far as I understand. I have heard that only a very few sample are measured. Informed Japanese citizens are only buying vegetables from western half of Japan, and baking their own bread instead of buying from a shop. And it is not from a baseless fear. We are truly concerned about internal exposure. If the Japanese government follows a recommendation issued by German Society for Radiological Protection, the limit of 4 Bq/kg for children and 8 Bq/kg for adults, then we might be able to have a slight relief. And if they measure more samples, preferrably all. Dr.Yuri Bandazhevsky, a scientist who was jailed by Belarussian authorities for researching on the health effects of Chernobyl contamination, has written that 20Bq/kg in a child's heart would be enough to cause a heart attack or other problem of the heart in the child. Even ICRP admits that if you continue to eat 10 Bq/kg a day, it would reach 1,000 Bq/kg in 200 days. In Bandazhevsky's paper, one reads about cases of sudden deaths in adults, and levels in their organs(kidney or heart) is only several hundred Bq. So the problem, it seems, is that comparing the current Japanese safety standard with US or Codex doesn't give us any assurance. The governments and internationally famous organizations are very much behind Bandazhevsky or German Society for Radiological Protection. It also seems that science has been dominated by the powerful nuclear lobby. If Mr.Frid lives in Japan or if he travels here, I would recommend him not to eat out in the restaurants unless absolutely necessary or unless you know where the food is from, because many restaurants are following the government's campaign "eat Fukushima, support Fukushima". It is not safe for his health. Farmers and citizens of Japan must unite and demand a better standard and better food-testing system, but it's a long way to go. Thank you for reading this comment.
Satoko Oka Norimatsu
03/13/2012
I am surprised that this article treats Japanese government's provisional standards of radiation levels as absolute "safety" standards without criticism, or without even any discussion and reflection of the criticisms on the issue around the nation and beyond since 311. In the Say-Peace Project piece http://japanfocus.org/-Say_Peace-Project/3549, we presented international standards,including Ukraine, Belarus, and the recommendation by the German Society for Radiation Protection (not giving food or drink that contain more than 4 Bq/kg of cesium-137 to infants, children, or young people), but this article does not seem to pay consideration to those standards established through the experience of Chernobyl. Also note the international comparison of the Iodine-131 level in drinking water. Japan's provisional standard was 300 Bq/L for adults and 100 for infants, whereas the standard by WHO, US EPA, Ukraine is 10, .111, and 2, respectively. The very fact that the Japanese government raises allowable standards and later on lowers them suggest that government sets those standards from the industry and economic efficiency perspectives, not from that of consumer safety, particularly that of children. Or else government would not be able to justify changing suddenly from 370 Bq to 500 Bq then 500 to 100 overnight. Human bodies and their responses to radiation do not change in the way government changes those "safety standards," so one who cares about safety by definition needs to provide critical assessment of government standards. I call for the author's further discussion on the food safety issue with consideration to alternative views to the government's.
M J Frid
03/14/2012
Thank you for the comments, you bring up very good points. I urge readers to check Jan's links. Izumi, if you look at the data, except for Fukushima and a few more places nearby, you get "ND" which means "Not detected" so you can safely eat food from the rest of Japan, if you don't want to be in doubt. But even in Fukushima there are regions that have ND for their foods, and they are doing their best to manage. Satoko, I didn't intend for this paper to be a discussion about the pros and cons of the old or new standards, and I agree that it is a topic that should be debated. No one is saying that these are "absolute safety standards" but rather a way forward from the mess we are in due to the March 11 nuclear disaster (which was a tragedy and a crime against humanity). Having said that, the new limits are a step in the right direction, and will indeed protect consumers and children to a higher degree. The government didn't suddenly change the limits, they have been under debate a lot over the past year, and the change was announced in due time so that everyone can adjust. I think it is very interesting to look at the available data from 120,000 samples (19,000 in Fukushima). You can also check the levels in drinking water, the data is available, and as far as I can tell, there is no Iodine-131 thus it is not a problem. If you have other data, let me know! Food data: http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/2011eq/dl/09Mar2012_Sum_up.pdf & Water data: http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/2011eq/watersupply.html Again, thanks for the comments, and I apologize if I didn't cover a lot of ground in this brief paper. My intention was only to look at the available food testing data and help people make some sense of it.
Aiko Kojima
03/15/2012
Although I am personally disturbed by the absence of discussion regarding the reliability of the government's standards itself, too, putting it aside, for Mr. Frid clarified that it was beyond the scope of this paper in his comment, I would like to raise two questions. ## One is regarding the Figure 4 in the paper. This reminds me the article issued in Mainichi Shinbun last December (http://mainichi.jp/life/food/archive/news/2011/12/20111219ddm013100039000c.html). As in this article, Codex standards as well as EU standards appear "high", because they are based on the assumption that 10% of all foods are contaminated, while Japanese standards, both the old and the new, is based on the assumption that 50% of all foods are contaminated. ## EU standards (EURATOM No. 3954/87) is the regulation for imported food following a nuclear emergency, and this standards was applied to foods imported from Japan by Commission Implementing Regulation No.297/2011 on March 25th, 2011. (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:080:0005:0008:EN:PDF). The numbers shown in Fig.4 are those in 3954/87, which is the standards for imported foods from the region which had a nuclear emergency, as it was applied to foods from Japan after Fukushima by 297/2011. ## Given the difference of assumed proportion of contaminated food to the total consumption, I think that the comparison presented in Fig.4 is not valid, or at least is misleading for it gives an impression as if Japanese standards is considerably strict among other international standards. ## Moreover, 297/2011 was amended a month later by Commission Implementing Regulation No. 351/2011 (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:097:0020:0023:EN:PDF), namely, the standards for foods imported from Japan was amended to ensure consistency with levels applied in Japan. Thus the Caesium standards got tightened, respectively, foods for infants (400 -> 200), Milk and dairy products (1000 -> 200), Other foodstuffs (1250 -> 500), despite that the assumed proportion to the total consumption is much smaller than that in Japan. ## My second question is regarding "ND" which Mr. Frid talked about in his comment. Mr. Frid says "ND" means "you can safely eat", but "ND" should not be confound with the safeness of food. Because a) "ND" depends on the detection limit of each test method, and b) thus it does not mean "0" existence of radionuclide, and according to the linear no-threshold model (though there are contesting models, given that scientists have not yet reached to the definite conclusion, the validity of LNT model should not be disregarded), radiation is harmful for human body no matter how small its dose is. ## Data released by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) are obtained through tests carried by each municipality. On September 29th, 2011 MHLW notified to municipalities that thereafter those cases whose radionuclide level was less than the detection limit should be reported as " < actual number of detection limit", instead of "ND". This change of policy took a little time but gradually got prevailed, and the term "ND" can no longer be found as of November test results (issued in December, http://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/houdou/2r9852000001m9tl-att/2r98520000020pkj.pdf). ## Thanks to this policy change, we can now know the detection limit of each test at a glance, which varies from less than 1 bq/kg to as high as 50 bq/kg. This is one of reasons why Citizen's Radioactivity Measuring Stations are spreading throughout the country. Besides that the official testing is very limited sample measuring, the minimum level detected in official tests can be different 50 times as much between municipalities and employed methods. This is not clearly a kind of benchmark for people to determine the safeness of given food.
M J Frid
03/17/2012
Again, I appreciate the new links and can only urge readers to check out Dr. Kojima's many suggestions for further reading, they are very valuable to the discussion. About the "ND" or "Not detected" it is clear that measuring equipment have limits at very low levels of radiation. Rather than using the "<" mark and give us a value, I think "ND" is more helpful, in case they provide their error range of the measuring equipment. Many detectors give a plus-minus reading of the range of error, and thus "ND" is standard practice. But, ok, I understand that people may prefer the "<" mark. However, for future studies of all the data that is now being accumulated, we will certainly need the error range to make statistical analysis. Note that FDA data of Japanese food imported to the US still use the concept of "ND" (Updated on March 19, 2012): "As of March 14th, FDA import investigators had performed 31,007 field examinations for radionuclide contamination. FDA had tested 1257 samples, 194 which were seafood or seafood products. 1256 samples had no Iodine-131, Cesium-134, Cesium-137, or other gamma-ray emitting radionuclides of concern. 1 sample was found to contain detectable levels of Cesium, but was below the established Derived Intervention Level (DIL) and posed no public health concern." http://www.fda.gov/newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm247403.htm#sofar
Roy Warner
03/19/2012
Thanks for writing this article. I appreciate your work. But I do have some concerns about the conclusions. Testing is primarily left up to producer associations that will make more profit if the test is negative. Has the government set up its own testing stations staffed by its own employees everywhere that testing is conducted? I could be wrong but I don't think so. (Very few people in Japan can trust even government employees now.) Why is withholding contaminated food from the market still voluntary? Why isn't it mandatory? I know why. If it's mandatory, the government has to pay farmers. The government is mainly concerned about limiting its liability. Testing is concentrated on Fukushima, when parts of Gunma and Tochigi have contamination levels just as high as the western half of Fukushima. The level of contamination can vary widely even in one field. Now producers and testers have a much better idea of what kind of topography is likely to concentrate caesium than they did at first, so they can easily harvest the whole crop and only test areas they know are less likely to be contaminated. Then they can claim it is all safe. Contamination in seafood will get worse before it gets better, as it goes up the food chain. The chance of more releases into the ocean is also high. Also, if you look at maps of radioactive fallout that have been available for months, it is not strange that even Shizuoka was contaminated. Chernobyl even contaminated Sweden, which is farther than Fukushima is from Shizuoka.
Roy Warner
03/19/2012
If I may, the following quote is from Bloomberg: "Checks conducted nationwide so far are only 1 percent of what Belarus checked in the past year, a quarter century after the Chernobyl disaster, according to Nobutaka Ishida, a researcher at Norinchukin Research Institute." http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-03-18/fukushima-farmers-face-decades-of-tainted-crops-as-fears-linger That tells me that the Japanese government is not serious at all about protecting consumers from radioactive contamination. To be fair, the information in this article contradicts my assertions that officials aren't doing the testing and that contaminated food over the limit is only voluntarily stopped. But I have read numerous articles that contain different descriptions of the testing procedures, some involving self-policing by producer organisations and voluntary restraints. There seems to be a patchwork of methods. Is that correct? If so, it is not the best way to gain consumers' trust.
M J Frid
03/20/2012
Roy, thanks for your comments. Let me just say that if you read Japanese, you can find details about which institute is doing the testing on the different websites of each prefecture and city. Testing is not just concentrated on Fukushima, but ongoing in all areas, not only in Tohoku but all over Japan, as I mention in my article (120,000 food samples tested so far). For example, Aizu in Fukushima has its own testing over at City Hall. They publish the data (in Japanese), so I see no reason that there should be no doubt about the validity, http://www.city.aizuwakamatsu.fukushima.jp/ja/sangyo/fuhyou_taisaku/nousanbutsu.htm
Roy Warner
03/20/2012
The Asahi Asia and Japan Watch says that Japanese nuclear regulatory authorities opposed the IAEA's proposal in 2005 to define a 300 kilometer radius around 1 gigawatt reactors for regulation of food after a nuclear accident. "The IAEA in February 2005 drew up a draft safety standard, which said that food intake regulations should be prepared within a 300-kilometer radius of a 1-gigawatt class nuclear power plant in case of a major accident." Since Shizuoka is within that range, we can see that the IAEA recognised the dangers of a nuclear accident to the food supply at least that far, but Japan rejected the opportunity to plan for safe food in case of an accident. The article quotes Hideaki Tsuzuku, the director of the Radiation Protection and Accident Management Division at the NSC:"Retrospectively, 300 km was not too large. We knew, from the Chernobyl experience, that radioactive substances below levels that are harmful to human bodies can be condensed in plants and domestic animals." http://ex-skf.blogspot.jp/ summarises and discusses the article, adding this comment "We all know what happened last year. Instead of banning the shipment of agricultural products within the 300-kilometer radius from Fukushima I Nuke Plant, the government encouraged the production, encouraged the shipment, and encouraged people to buy the products to help support farmers. They sample-tested vegetables, one vegetable from one farm in one city, to assure people the entire shipment from the entire city was safe. Before designating the highly contaminated Iitate-mura and Namie-machi in Fukushima Prefecture as "planned evacuation zone", the government encouraged cattle farmers to sell their cattle quickly." Japan's government had the chance to protect Japan's residents from food contaminated with radioactive substances, but it seems to have refused to do so for political reasons.
M J Frid
03/20/2012
Correction: In my previous comment, I meant to say: "I see no reason that there should be ANY doubt about the validity" since most of the testing is done at public, not private institutes and by city governments at the local level. Roy, in response to your next comment about a 300 km zone, that would not respond to the real conditions (IAEA's food intake regulations would not have meant that all foods had been banned anyway).
Jan Hemmer
04/15/2012
To end this once and for all, have a look at the latest Children Radiation Maps, which show, that Children in CLEAN areas are irradiated with 0 - 20 Bc Cs137 per body Kg and 20 - 1000 bq and even more, 26 years after the Chernobyl explosions: http://tekknorg.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/children-radiation-maps-2/ Why? FOOD. Food Safety kills with norms. 3 year old girls visit the gynecologist in Belarus. Children need absolutely CLEAN food: http://tekknorg.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/japanese-children-cancer-outlook-children-need-absolutely-clean-food/ Why explains Prof. Bandashevzky: “cesium is easy to accumulate in the heart” “50 Becquerel break your heart rhythm at 20 to 30 becquerel per kilogram of body weight” (CHILDREN!) “if, during pregnancy, there is more than 200 becquerel per kilogram of cesium in the placenta it can lead to sudden death of the child” HERE: http://tekknorg.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/%E5%B0%82%E9%96%80%E5%AE%B6-%E3%83%A6%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AA%E3%83%BC%E3%83%BB%E3%83%90%E3%83%B3%E3%83%80%E3%82%B8%E3%82%A7%E3%83%95%E3%82%B9%E3%82%AD%E3%83%BC-%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC-belarusian-chernobyl-and-c/
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Authors: For all articles by the author, click on author's name.   Martin J. Frid