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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Cesium & food

April 1, 2012

Govt. tightens control over cesium in food




The Japanese government is setting stricter standards for permissible levels of radioactive cesium in food products.

Local governments will begin applying the new inspection rules on Monday.

After the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March of last year, the health ministry set the temporary permissible level of radioactive cesium in vegetables and meat at 500 becquerels per kilogram.

But the amount of cesium in food products has since decreased.

Under the new standards, common food products will be allowed to contain up to 100 becquerels of cesium per kilogram, 80 percent less than the current level.

Baby food and milk will be permitted to contain 50 becquerels, and drinking water 10 becquerels.

The health ministry says that, between January and March, a total of 600 cases were reported in 9 prefectures, including Fukushima, Ibaraki, and Tochigi, in which food products contained more than 100 becquerels of cesium.

The reported food products include landlocked salmon, flounder and raw shiitake mushrooms.

Local governments and the central government will stop distributing foods exceeding the new standards.

Foods with excessive radiation under new rule found in 8 prefectures



TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Food items containing levels of radioactive cesium exceeding a new limit, to be enforced from Sunday, have been found in 421 instances in eight prefectures since January this year, a survey by the health ministry showed Saturday.

The food items with levels exceeding 100 becquerels per kilogram of cesium were found in Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi, Yamagata, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures in the survey conducted through March 21, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

Of the 421 cases, about 80 percent involved seafood and river fishes, and the remainder involved shiitake mushrooms and the meat of wild animals such as boars and birds.

Almost all cases involving vegetables related to shiitake mushrooms.

The government will enforce new ceilings on Sunday, setting a limit of 100 becquerels per kg of cesium for regular food items such as meat, vegetables and fish, 50 becquerels for milk and infant food, and 10 becquerels for drinking water.

The figures compare with the present ceilings of 500 becquerels per kg for a broad category of regular food items and 200 becquerels for milk, dairy products and water.

In Fukushima, there were 285 instances of excessive radiation in food items, followed by Ibaraki with 36 cases and Tochigi with 29.

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