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First raw milk since 3/11 from previous evacuation zone

January 24, 2017

First raw milk since 3/11 ships out from former evacuation zone




The first shipment of raw milk has been made from an area once declared an evacuation zone after the 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, paving the way for public consumption.

Eighteen cows were milked starting at about 8 a.m. on Jan. 24 at Hiruta dairy farm in Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture.

About 400 liters of unpasteurized milk were collected and shipped in a tanker truck to a processing plant.

The JA Zen-Noh Fukushima, part of the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations, will conduct a radiation test on the milk. If the product passes, it will be mixed with other raw milk from Fukushima before being distributed for consumption.

"Today marks the starting line," said Hiroaki Hiruta, 48, who operates the farm. "We want to continue producing safe and delicious milk."

After the Fukushima nuclear accident, residents in 11 cities, towns and villages were ordered to evacuate due to high radiation levels. Naraha’s order was lifted in September 2015.

Immediately after the March 2011 nuclear accident, the shipment of raw milk from all of Fukushima Prefecture was prohibited, but the ban was lifted for all but the 11 evacuated municipalities by October 2011.



Farm in ex-evacuation area near Fukushima nuke plant ships milk again



January 24, 2017 (Mainichi Japan)

FUKUSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) -- A dairy farm near the disaster-struck Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan began shipping raw milk again on Tuesday.

It was the first milk shipped for processing and public sale from an area previously designated for evacuation following the March 2011 nuclear disaster at the seaside plant in Fukushima Prefecture, according to the prefectural government.

Milk produced at the farm in the Naraha district had been checked for radioactive cesium every week from last May to December, with no reading ever surpassing the government-set limit of 50 becquerels per kilogram. In fact, the readings were below the testing equipment detection limit.

Around 400 kg of raw milk from 18 cows was shipped Tuesday.

"We were able to start operating this farm again with the support of so many people," said farm head Hiroaki Hiruta, 48. "I want to pay a debt of gratitude by making good milk."

Following the disaster, in which a massive amount of radioactive material was spewed into the air and sea, the central government banned milk shipments from the area in March 2011. Restrictions were lifted last December for the area where Hiruta's farm is located.

Similar restrictions are still in place for eight other districts, including the towns of Okuma and Futaba where the nuclear power station is located.

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