Five years on, tests find no radioactive cesium in Fukushima meals

by

Staff Writer

A consumers’ organization in Fukushima Prefecture has found no traces of radioactive cesium in meals produced by households in Fukushima Prefecture for a second straight year.

It tested meals prepared by residents with locally grown products and cooked in regular tap water. The findings underscore declining contamination in food five years after the nuclear disaster.

The annual study, conducted by Co-op Fukushima, checked for the presence of cesium-137 and 134 in meals prepared by 100 households in Fukushima over two consecutive days. The sampling was done between July last year and February.

The co-op asked each participant to prepare an extra portion when they cooked meals for their family.

Most of the participants used locally grown produce and tap water, but no cesium was found in the meals for the second year in a row, according to the report released Tuesday.

Given the result, the co-op said the likelihood of Fukushima residents continuously eating cesium-tainted meals is “extremely low.”

A similar survey conducted recently by the Japanese Consumers’ Co-operative Union (JCCU) also detected no radioactive cesium. It checked meals from 263 households in 19 prefectures, including Tokyo, Fukushima and Kanagawa.

Given the availability of such data, some countries have been easing restrictions on imported Japanese food imposed since the disaster.

In January, the European Union relaxed controls on imports, removing its requirement for some food items from Fukushima, including vegetables, livestock and tea, to be shipped with radiation inspection certificates.

But Japan is struggling to dispel lingering fears in some quarters over the safety of produce from Fukushima and other regions affected by the disaster.

In February, a government event in Seoul aimed at promoting food from Tohoku was cancelled at the last minute when South Korean civic groups lodged a protest over a plan to serve food from Fukushima.

Given such strong anxiety, South Korea has restricted seafood imports from eight prefectures, including Fukushima, Ibaraki, Gunma and Miyagi, since September 2013.

As of February, 12 nations, including South Korea, Taiwan, and the U.S., still had some kind of ban in place, according to the agricultural ministry data.

Many other countries, such as Indonesia, allow imports but require radiation inspection certificates or documents showing the prefecture of origin, the ministry said.

  • thedudeabidez

    This one is a real head scratcher: the article states that there is “no trace” of radioactive cesium in meals cooked using locally grown Fukushima produce. This is puzzling, because even before the 3/11 meltdowns, a low level of cesium could be found in most any food, due to Chernobyl and/or atmospheric nuclear weapons testing having put it into the environment. Secondly, it is well documented how much cesium was released after the accidents of 3/11; where did it all go then if not into the soil and water?

    It is virtually impossible for there to be “no trace” of cesium 137 or 134 in this food. Now they may well claim that the levels present are below what is considered safe, but to claim that cesium is not present whatsoever makes this entire piece suspect. There is no citation whatsoever as to what sort of testing was done and how the zero cesium data was arrived at.

  • thedudeabidez

    This one is a real head scratcher: the article states that there is “no trace” of radioactive cesium in meals cooked using locally grown Fukushima produce. This is puzzling, because even before the 3/11 meltdowns, a low level of cesium could be found in most any food, due to Chernobyl and/or atmospheric nuclear weapons testing having put it into the environment. Secondly, it is well documented how much cesium was released after the accidents of 3/11; where did it all go then if not into the soil and water?

    It is virtually impossible for there to be “no trace” of cesium 137 or 134 in this food. Now they may well claim that the levels present are below what is considered safe, but to claim that cesium is not present whatsoever makes this entire piece suspect. There is no citation whatsoever as to what sort of testing was done and how the zero cesium data was arrived at.

  • thedudeabidez

    This one is a real head scratcher: the article states that there is “no trace” of radioactive cesium in meals cooked using locally grown Fukushima produce. This is puzzling, because even before the 3/11 meltdowns, a low level of cesium could be found in most any food, due to Chernobyl and/or atmospheric nuclear weapons testing having put it into the environment. Secondly, it is well documented how much cesium was released after the accidents of 3/11; where did it all go then if not into the soil and water?

    It is virtually impossible for there to be “no trace” of cesium 137 or 134 in this food. Now they may well claim that the levels present are below what is considered safe, but to claim that cesium is not present whatsoever makes this entire piece suspect. There is no citation whatsoever as to what sort of testing was done and how the zero cesium data was arrived at.

    • A Martyn Chew

      Caesium ions are water-soluble. Japan is an island nation and Fukushima drains into the largest ocean on earth—the Pacific is 660m cubic kilometres in volume. Chernobyl, however, is inland and relatively landlocked with poor drainage, compared to Fukushima. So the simple reason is that the caesium goes into the sea, which can well absorb it —the radiation from US and French A-bomb tests is still the greatest source of Pacific Ocean radioactivity.

      • thedudeabidez

        Two points:

        1. Plenty of Cesium was deposited further inland after the explosions at Fuku-Daiichi made it airborne, and is still readily detectable all over the Tohoku and beyond.

        2. Cesium from the A-bomb tests is still present and detectable, so how can there be “no trace of it” in food. They can argue there’s only a tiny amount, but to claim “no trace” is a flat out lie.

  • thedudeabidez

    This one is a real head scratcher: the article states that there is “no trace” of radioactive cesium in meals cooked using locally grown Fukushima produce. This is puzzling, because even before the 3/11 meltdowns, a low level of cesium could be found in most any food, due to Chernobyl and/or atmospheric nuclear weapons testing having put it into the environment. Secondly, it is well documented how much cesium was released after the accidents of 3/11; where did it all go then if not into the soil and water?

    It is virtually impossible for there to be “no trace” of cesium 137 or 134 in this food. Now they may well claim that the levels present are below what is considered safe, but to claim that cesium is not present whatsoever makes this entire piece suspect. There is no citation whatsoever as to what sort of testing was done and how the zero cesium data was arrived at.

  • thedudeabidez

    This one is a real head scratcher: the article states that there is “no trace” of radioactive cesium in meals cooked using locally grown Fukushima produce. This is puzzling, because even before the 3/11 meltdowns, a low level of cesium could be found in most any food, due to Chernobyl and/or atmospheric nuclear weapons testing having put it into the environment. Secondly, it is well documented how much cesium was released after the accidents of 3/11; where did it all go then if not into the soil and water?

    It is virtually impossible for there to be “no trace” of cesium 137 or 134 in this food. Now they may well claim that the levels present are below what is considered safe, but to claim that cesium is not present whatsoever makes this entire piece suspect. There is no citation whatsoever as to what sort of testing was done and how the zero cesium data was arrived at.

  • thedudeabidez

    Just two pages later we get the headline “30 Years After Chernobyl, Food Still Radioactive”.

    I suppose, as in so many things, there is some uniquely Japanese characteristic about the Fukushima cesium which makes its half- life much shorter than the Russian variety