View Full Version : Japan restricts milk, vegetables produced near damaged nuclear plant

03-20-2011, 08:19 PM
Tokyo (CNN) -- Japan slapped restrictions on some food produced in two provinces around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant Sunday after high levels of radioactivity turned up in spinach and milk.
However, Dr. James Cox, professor of radiation oncology at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said the reported levels posed little or no health concerns.

"The immediate risk in terms of health effects are probably nonexistent, and the long-term risk is very low," said Cox, a CNN consultant.
Nonetheless, the Japanese government has banned the sale of raw milk from Fukushima Prefecture, where the Fukushima Daiichi plant is located, and prohibited the sale of spinach from neighboring Ibaraki Prefecture after finding levels of radioactive iodine and cesium higher than government standards, the country's Health Ministry reported. And officials in Fukushima halted the distribution of locally grown vegetables outside the prefecture.

add an economic shock to the beating Japan has taken from the quake, which has so far left more than 23,000 dead, injured or missing.

"The government is going to have to grapple with what to do about that," said Jim Walsh, an international security expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a CNN consultant. "If they outlaw all the produce from that region, that pretty much is putting the stamp of death on those farmers. They're never going to be able to sell any produce."
Japanese officials reported levels of radioactive iodine in milk from four locations in Fukushima that ranged from about 20% over the acceptable limit to more than 17 times that limit. Testing at one location also found levels of cesium about 5% over the acceptable limit, the Health Ministry reported Sunday.

And in Ibaraki, a major center of vegetable production, tests at 10 locations found iodine levels in spinach that ranged from 5% over acceptable limits to more than 27 times that ceiling. At seven sites, levels of cesium grew from just above 4% to nearly four times the limit.
Fukushima, northeast of Tokyo, has Japan's fourth-largest amount of farmland and ranks among its top producer of fruits, vegetables and rice. Ibaraki, south of Fukushima, supplies Tokyo with a significant amount of fruits and vegetables and is Japan's third-largest pork producer.
On Saturday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said someone who ate the affected milk and spinach would take in the same amount of radiation as that of a single CT scan -- about 7 millisieverts, more than double the 3 millisieverts that a person in an industrialized country is typically exposed to in a year.

"Even if you consume the spinach in question for a long time, it will not pose an immediate threat to your health," Edano said early Sunday.
Iodine and cesium isotopes are byproducts of nuclear reactors like the ones that were damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northern Japanese island of Honshu. While Iodine-131 has a radioactive half-life of eight days, cesium-137's half-life is about 30 years.

After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, tons of food had to be destroyed when radioactive debris fell on crops in large swaths of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.

Hygiene expert Satoshi Takaya, who helped Japanese scientists prevent contaminated food from entering the country at that time, said the current situation is no Chernobyl -- but he said the current crisis is sure to affect Japanese farmers.

"Japanese, or anyone for that matter, won't eat anything they consider could possibly be contaminated," he said.


03-27-2011, 06:09 PM
do you people realize that 95% of the food you buy in stores has been radiated "for your health and safety"

03-30-2011, 08:43 PM
or that you radiate your food in the microwave