The health ministry plans to shorten the list of food being tested for cesium fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster as the number of tainted items is falling.

Based on test results so far, the ministry will exclude 20 items including broccoli, plums and tea, starting in April. That will reduce the number of test items to 45, a list released Friday showed.

But beef and milk will continue to be tested, given that the degree of cesium contamination in those foods depends heavily on how cattle were raised and what they were fed.

The tests are conducted in 17 prefectures, mainly in the Tohoku and Kanto regions, to allay public health concerns triggered by the massive radioactive debris released into the air and sea by the March 2011 triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, which is still polluting the Pacific Ocean with radioactive water.