Monday, August 1, 2011


This blog warned about nuclear contamination of food in Japan very soon after the Fukushima nuclear plant crisis in northeast Japan on March 11. At that point, there was, as yet, no evidence or discussion of it. (Read the 20 earlier posts on this issue, beginning March 15). These fears have been confirmed. Excessive levels of radiation have been found in milk, vegetables, fruit, seaweed, fish, drinking water, animal feed - and, most recently, in beef.

It was only a matter of time before attention would turn to rice. Back on April 10, I (see "Can Rice be Contaminated?") I mentioned that the Government of Japan had advised farmers not to plant rice in certain areas because of this risk. We'll know soon whether such warnings were enough. The rice planted back in the spring is about to be harvested. Government-required testing of the rice is beginning in at least 14 prefectures in north and east Japan. About 40 percent of the annually harvested over 8 million tons of rice is grown in this area.

The testing will check levels of cesium in rice to make sure that they are not above the maximum government-imposed cap of 500 becquerels per kilogram. If any are, then shipments of rice from the area will be stopped.

Obviously farmers are anxious. But so are consumers. Rice is something that most people in Japan eat every day - including young children and pregnant women, who are at special risk. Cesium can build up in the body, resulting in higher risk for certain cancers as well as other health problems.

To your good health,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While this is bad news for the farmers in Japan, the government will need to put the health of the average consumer as a priority. This means having to import rice from places like Vietnam, USA and Australia. Yet another cost of the fukishima nuclear disaster.