Saturday, June 18, 2011


Efforts continue to contain the situation at the crippled Fukushima Daichii nuclear power plant in Japan. I just looked at Ministry of Health's latest published results on testing of food for iodine, cesium-134 and cesium-137. I found the levels of radionuclides to be surpisingly low for the most part, although clearly some rivers (and fish) are becoming quite contaminated.

But the news hitting the wires is the discovery of high levels of radiation in a green tea shipment at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris yesterday. The tea had come from Japan's Shizuoka Prefecture. Apparently the detected level of the radionuclide cesium were 1,038 becquerels per kg of tea. This is about double the European Union's maximum allowed radioactive load in foods (cesium 134 and cesium 137). (But note - I have found no official statement.)

This Shizuoka Prefecture produces some 40% of Japan's green tea. Some ten days ago, the Prefecture announced that it had found levels of 679 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram of tea from a producer 355 Km from the nuclear plant. The tea farmers in the area are very upset since their livelihoods are at stake. Shipment of tea from this producer was stopped, and testing expanded. But apparently some got through from somewhere. Or so it seems - if these reports are true.

But relax - customs officials detained the tea and it did not enter the marketplace. At least this shipment didn't. Who knows what other countries received some from the same or neighboring producers. I certainly know that here in the U.S. we import green tea from Japan. I just finished drinking some...

To your good health,


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