ISSN 2330-717X

Japan: Food Samples Show Raised Radioactivity

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Levels of radioactivity exceeding the Japanese government-set level have been detected in samples of milk and spinach collected in the region of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. However, the levels measured are said to pose no immediate threat to health.

Higher-than-limit levels of radioactivity were detected in samples of milk by authorities yesterday evening, chief cabinet secretary Yukiyo Edano reported. The milk samples had been collected within Fukushima prefecture at a location more than 30 kilometres from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Friday six samples of spinach collected in Ibaraki prefecture, neighbouring to the south of Fukushima prefecture, were found to have higher levels of radioactivity. The prefectural boundary is some 65 kilometres from the nuclear power plant.

Map of Japan's Nuclear Power Plants. Source: Global Insight
Map of Japan's Nuclear Power Plants. Source: Global Insight

Edano said that the levels of radioactivity detected exceed the limits stipulated as provisional regulation values under the national Food Sanitation Law. These limits have been set in accordance with International Committee on Radiation Protection’s recommendations.

The limits are based on the amount of food concerned, assuming that these amounts would be consumed throughout a person’s entire life, Edano said. He stressed that the radioactivity measured from the samples poses no immediate threat to health. In the case of the milk samples, even if consumed for one year, the radiation dose would be equivalent to that a person would receive in a single CT scan. The levels found in the spinach were much lower, equivalent to one-fifth of a single CT scan.

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, as well as the prefectural governments, will continue to monitor and analyse food samples and determine the exact location where contaminated samples are found. Edano said that, assuming the higher radiation levels found in food are associated with emissions from the Fukushima plant, the Japanese government will consider taking necessary actions. These could include a ban on the shipment of foodstuffs or setting limits to the intake of such foods.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

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